I want to get into informatics

  1. 5
    We frequently get questions posted to this forum such as:

    How do I get started in Nursing Informatics?
    How do I get an entry level position in healthcare IT, NI?
    How do I get a job in HIT, NI, IS.

    The interview questions below give you an idea of some of the basic skill sets and role expectations for an average job in nursing/clinical/healthcare information systems. Several of these same questions would be asked if a hiring manager were interviewing a project manager, a clinical informatics specialist, a Nursing Informatics liasion, an implementation specialist, a applications specialist, a nurse informaticist or an IT trainer. I (as a former hiring manager) have asked these questions of candidates........ and been asked similiar questions as a candidate for various positions I've applied for in the past.

    If you can answer 50% or more you have a good handle on what practicing in this specialty entails. If less than 50% -this should give you a starting point as to what skills you lack (and will need to acquire) for entry into and practice within this specialty. Good Luck!

    See below for an example of interview questions for a clinical analyst position. Courtesy of Joan M. Smith, MSN, RN-BC, Clinical Project Leader submitted to the CARING listserve in Oct 2008


    Interview Questions:


    What clinic software applications have you used / built / maintained /
    or supported?

    How in past positions did you communicate with the clinical expert users regarding clinical content and design?

    Who was responsible for approving system changes before you moved them
    to live?

    How do you tell a physician that the clinical system was not designed to doa particular function (such as keeping him logged into the clinical application at all times)?

    Describe any creative things you may have done with clinical
    software...for example you were able to configure it to do something
    that it was not originally designed to do.

    How autonomous were you in your role supporting the clinical
    application?

    Did you serve as an internal consultant to the clinicians, and
    serve on clinical documentation committees?

    Did you deal directly with vendor support?

    Did you write and publish end user system procedures? Down
    time procedures?

    If the job description includes interfaces:

    What interfaces (between which types of clinical systems) have
    you supported?

    Describe how you have tested a clinical interface in the past.

    If the job description includes report writing / data retrieval:

    What report writing applications have you used and to what
    extent is your proficiency?

    How do you verify the accuracy of the reports you have
    generated?

    If the job description includes training end users:

    Have you ever created or developed computer based
    instructional training programs and if so for what application and using what product?

    Describe how you would prepare for a computer training class to teach order entry (or what ever topic is appropriate).

    Preparation of training agenda.

    Preparation of training handout and materials.

    System preparation, loading training patients, loading users
    etc.

    Equipment testing of database, and peripherals.

    What do you do to keep the class on alert and on track?

    What would you do at the end of the class to demonstrate that
    the participants had acquired a level of competency?

    What Microsoft applications are you proficient in using?

    Microsoft Project? How expansive was/were the project(s)?

    Microsoft Visio? Share with us process flowcharts you have
    created.

    Microsoft Access? Share with us databases you have designed
    and the reports you created from the data compiled.

    Microsoft PowerPoint? Share with us presentations you have
    created.

    What was the most difficult situation you have encountered as an
    analyst?

    How did you deal with it at the time?

    If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
    Last edit by rninformatics on Oct 14, '08 : Reason: cause
    CherylRNPhD, jchat17, F4Mom, and 2 others like this.
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  3. 21 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    A couple of these made me LOL!

    I esp. like telling the MD/nurse/other clinician that, no, they may NOT never, ever bothering logging back in again.
    rninformatics likes this.
  5. 1
    Hey,
    I've got a question.

    What was
    1) the most difficult situation you have encountered practicing in this specialty
    and
    2) what was the best situation


    Quote from Suesquatch
    A couple of these made me LOL!

    I esp. like telling the MD/nurse/other clinician that, no, they may NOT never, ever bothering logging back in again.
    SuesquatchRN likes this.
  6. 2
    1) A couple of these

    Having a hard time convincing the nurses that letting the system populate care plans, assessment, flowcharts, and kick off consultations does not lessen their role, but enhances it, as if frees them from charting and duplicative data entry and gives them more time to spend with the patients. There seems to be a fear that the computer will be too smart and take away the "brain" part of their job. I've had to sell that it is their input into the system that will drive their patient care, not the other way around. It is slowly sinking in.

    Dealing with a very poor CAH with an annual budget of whatever we can scrounge in grants and a new roll of duct tape. And a purchasing department that will not order extra printer cartridges, and continues to order refurbished ones that DO NOT WORK in certain of the printers, including the ED, because they want to save money, so once a month I run around like a maniac trying to swap out printers and outqueues while we wait for new cartridges and everyone on the floor feels compelled to pop into my office to ask, "Hey, you know the ED can't print?"

    2) A couple of these, too

    When we are sitting in a planning session and I will speak for the nurses and simply say, "The nurses can not {insert ridiculous expectation here} and we must find another solution" and I am listened to, and thanked by the nurses.

    When my DON, who was glaring at me the day I started and had my boss in tears because she thought I was doomed, now comes to me and asks for data that she knows I can and will pull for her in a format she can use. That she really, completely believes that I am on her - and the nurses' - side. And when I say, "Hey, Central SUpply is giving me a hard time about not using refurbished cartridges" she knows I am speaking the truth and says, "Well, we'll take care of that" and just the look on her face gets my call returned and the cartridges ordered.

    That reports that the medical director and DON need regularly have now been automated and kick off once a month and appear.

    That when State shows up and the policies and procedures disaster on which we got dinged on their last visit has been completely fixed and we can now find anything via my database, which is published on our intranet. I spent months getting every stinking P&P scanned, typed, or snagged from people's PC's. Risk Management and the rest of the facility are thrilled.

    Man, I'm a geek. I get such satisfaction out of bringing electronic order to chaos.

    F4Mom and rninformatics like this.
  7. 1
    Oh, and I have to add that trying to impress tht the reason the system logs one off automatically and that we are requiring dual-factor authentication is not to annoy and inconvenience you, but to comply with several laws that could financially cripple us were we ever found to be in violation.
    F4Mom likes this.
  8. 2
    Thanks for shareing Suesquatch

    Anyone else willing to share??????

    What was
    1) the most difficult situation you have encountered practicing in this specialty
    and
    2) what was the best situation

    Chime in, those of you who practice in this specialty. There are nurses out there eager to hear about what it is you do on a daily basis and they need to read about both the good and the bad; about the times that make you love what you do.......... and
    also about those situtations that you could have lived without. These real world stories give a better picture of this specialty and a day in the life of an informatics clinician/nurse than any article or text book ever could. So please share your stories with this forum.
    What were/are some of the problems you solve for users?, how does what you do improve patient care and nursing practice? Why would anyone willingly chose this as their specialty? Why did you? What implementations/projects went wrong or right and why? What about your job, a task or a project do you love more than anything and what occurances make you pull your hair out and scream "I can go back to the bedside and you can take this job"...........etc, etc
    Please share with the forum, remember to balance the good with the bad, keep it as proactive and non-judgemental as possible
    and leave off the real names to protect the innocent:chuckle
    F4Mom and SuesquatchRN like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from rninformatics
    What about your job, a task or a project do you love more than anything and what occurances make you pull your hair out and scream "I can go back to the bedside and you can take this job"
    Well, I just got back home from running in after resetting a password for the same nurse who works 11-7 and constantly forgets it. Wanted to make sure she could get in. She does, then she says, "I have to print out a piece of paper for days." Um, okay, a clue, perhaps? "Well, I need another password for that, I think." Um, what is it? FINALLY hands me a safety check that looks like it was done in Excel. Open shared documents. Voila! Her "piece of paper."

    ARRRRGGGH!

    I literally reset someone, in violation of all capital/number etc requirements, to kittycat. That, she hasn;t forgotten yet.
    F4Mom likes this.
  10. 1
    I have and continue to encounter challenging situations. I'm sure everyone in any profession can say the same. I myself consider it job security.

    One of the best situations was when I worked as the Project Manager for a childrens hospital here in Chicago. I overheard a mom say that "These nurses treat these children like their own"
    I was so touched by that simple statement that I made a beeline for the unit and told the nurses at the nurses station what I had just heard. By that time I was literally in tears repeating it.
    The nurses all thanked me and said that I should go back down to the basement (where IT was located) as I was a marshmellow. I have worked in almost every area as a practicing RN but never peds.................When I had to do my first (and only) PKU heel stick........I'm was crying, the mom was crying and the baby was crying. Not very productive

    Quote from rninformatics
    Thanks for shareing Suesquatch

    Anyone else willing to share??????

    What was
    1) the most difficult situation you have encountered practicing in this specialty
    and
    2) what was the best situation

    Please share with the forum, remember to balance the good with the bad, keep it as proactive and non-judgemental as possible
    and leave off the real names to protect the innocent:chuckle
    Last edit by rninformatics on Oct 16, '08 : Reason: cause
    SuesquatchRN likes this.
  11. 0
    I'd have a really hard time with peds. REALLY hard.
  12. 0
    Here is my Dillema, although unrelated to the post:

    I am in my last two quarters of finishing a Masters Degree in Clinical Informatics and Patient Centered Technologies (MS-CIPCT) at the prestigious University of Washington, in Seattle. I am currently working on my Thesis at Hraboview Medical Center in Seattle and I work as a floor RN for a different company. I have been trying to get an informatics position but I have been so frustrated with barrier after barrier being placed before me and I am looking at the people working in these jobs who are trained on the job for a few months and at best have an associate degree from a community college. They have the jobs that I want and that I feel I am overly qualified for (in my opinion) but I can not get. I have ben asked to take a certification in nursing informatics ( I have bachelors degree in nursing and I will have a masters degree in Clinical Informatics in 6 months??!!!) or EPIC and such but how can I when I do not have a position in informatics. My other friends in class have been given opportunities by their companies to train as Opertaions Analyst, Clinical Analyst and so forth, got the pay raise, given funds to attend seminars like the one coming up in Canada Next year (through AMIA) and have also been given opportunities to go to Winsconsin (EPIC offices) to get certified in EPIC modules BUT my organization..my sorry company have staff who have no idea what the definition of clinical informatics is but yet they have these people working in informatics positions...is there something that I am missing here?? ( I am trying really hard not to think this has anything to do with race but its getting really hard not to think that way..)..Can someone please offer me an explanation or advice..I have paid my own tuition and I want to reap the benefits of my labour and work in the position I so much wish for. Thank you.


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