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
What clinic software applications have you used / built / maintained /
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
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
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
If the job description includes interfaces:
What interfaces (between which types of clinical systems) have
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
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
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
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
What was the most difficult situation you have encountered as an
How did you deal with it at the time?
If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
Oct 16, '08
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??????
1) the most difficult situation you have encountered practicing in this specialty
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
Nov 19, '11
WOW! Lets take a deep breath..........
You seem very angry and I hear your frustration. I'm going to try to address some of your questions.
I'd first say lets give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say the issue is not related to "race" , Okay?
As I and others have posted on this forum many, many times - having an advance degree does not guarantee one a job within this industry/specialty. I have colleagues who have graduate degrees in medical, nursing and healthcare informatics and they are not working within the speciality and have been struggling (just like you) to find a job in informatics. So again although as you wrote you are:
- "finishing a Masters Degree in Clinical Informatics and Patient Centered Technologies (MS-CIPCT) at the prestigious University of Washington, in Seattle"
- "feel I am overly qualified for (in my opinion)"
these mean nothing to a hiring manager looking for experience.
With all due respect, I did not read where you have any actual OTJ experience or that you are currently working within the industry/speciality. Do you or are you? If the majority of your "qualifications" are your academic education that apparently is not enough.
The reality is hiring managers are looking for the right mix of qualifications, skills and motivation.
Having an advance degree does not entitle you to a job.
Again, no disrespect intended here. You wrote you are: "trying real hard" so take a deep breath and ditch the anger cause the reality is its not getting you what you want - is it? Perrhaps if you have interviewed for a role within informatics your anger, frustration, assumption and entitlement are coming across in a really negative way.
I know you are frustrated and asking - "How do I get experience if they won't hire me and give me the opportunity?"
No one said life was going to be fair. You get your chance by being prepared when the opportunity comes your way.
You wrote: "I have been asked to take a certification in nursing informatics" Who "asked" you? If it was a potential hiring manager - whats the problem? You are trying to get your foot in the door, correct? Your graduate level work does make you eligible to sit for the certification exam, so take it. Again are you willing to do what is necessary (within legal and moral bounds) to obtain a job in this specialty or not? You are competing with people who are as you admit already doing it and dont have any advance degree. They dont have to know the definition of clinica informatics - they have the role you want so think about it.
Last edit by rninformatics on Nov 19, '11
: Reason: typos