Nursing Informatics Masters - should I take the plunge?

  1. 0
    hello,
    Everyone...great site. Been reading it for while and finally decided to post. Current RN in ICU and considering heading back to school for Masters in Informatics.

    Bit about myself:
    *Hold previous Business Degree then BSN in Nursing (in 10 months..outch!) at University of Drexel (ACE program for those of you who know of it).
    * Straight to ICU out of school at University of Pennsylvania Hospital in their Neuro/Traumu ICU.
    * Been ICU nurse for 5 years and now considering advanced nursing degree in informatics.

    While working as nurse I ended up building three e-commerce sites and two blogs and it occurred to me that I really enjoy computers aa much as healthcare. Current hospital just went live with Sorian and I do per diem work on side and have training next week for Epic system.
    Few questions: If you are currently in field of Health IT was advancing your degree in Health IT worth it? Would you recommend completing Masters Degree online? Are there specific Federal Grants for Nursing Informatics?
    Thanks in advance,
    Carl
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  4. 16 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Welcome Carl,

    I'll let others chime in with more detail but my oppinion has always been that unless you are already in an informatics or IT/IS role spending money and time on an advance degree is not beneficial. Many think that obtaining an advance degree in informatics will automatically guarantee them a position.

    http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Column...formatics.aspx

    What do you do related to your "per diem work with Sorian"? and What skills (other than and above the user level) will the Epic training" provide you?

    Depending on the above and in your case it might definately increase your marketability.

    I do whole heartedly endorse degree attainment via on-line distance education.

    Good Luck!
    Angela



    Quote from overtonis
    hello,
    Everyone...great site. Been reading it for while and finally decided to post. Current RN in ICU and considering heading back to school for Masters in Informatics.

    Bit about myself:
    *Hold previous Business Degree then BSN in Nursing (in 10 months..outch!) at University of Drexel (ACE program for those of you who know of it).
    * Straight to ICU out of school at University of Pennsylvania Hospital in their Neuro/Traumu ICU.
    * Been ICU nurse for 5 years and now considering advanced nursing degree in informatics.

    While working as nurse I ended up building three e-commerce sites and two blogs and it occurred to me that I really enjoy computers aa much as healthcare. Current hospital just went live with Sorian and I do per diem work on side and have training next week for Epic system.
    Few questions: If you are currently in field of Health IT was advancing your degree in Health IT worth it? Would you recommend completing Masters Degree online? Are there specific Federal Grants for Nursing Informatics?
    Thanks in advance,
    Carl
    .
    Last edit by rninformatics on May 9, '12 : Reason: because
  6. 0
    Angela,
    Thanks. You basically said same thing a recruiter just told me. He said only requirement is BSN and that Masters Degree is usually not mandatory.

    His suggestions were:
    1) try to increase my role with either Sorian or Epic at my hospital (maybe become power user?)
    2) He mentioned getting a general informatics certification. I know there is specific certification for Epic in Wisconsin, not sure about Sorian. But he was referring to just getting some form of certification in informatics to show intent on my part to move into informatics. I will search around for certification but would only want one that is accredited. Any suggestions on getting general nursing informatics certification?

    Thanks again
    Carl
  7. 0
    At least in my neck of the woods, a portfolio of experiences is much more impressive than any degree you have. Becoming a power user is a good idea and will help open doors, but also be on the lookout for leadership opportunities such are chairing committees that involve some degree of change management. Leadership/project management skills will make you golden.
  8. 0
    Quote from overtonis
    Angela,
    Thanks. You basically said same thing a recruiter just told me. He said only requirement is BSN and that Masters Degree is usually not mandatory.

    His suggestions were:
    1) try to increase my role with either Sorian or Epic at my hospital (maybe become power user?)
    2) He mentioned getting a general informatics certification. I know there is specific certification for Epic in Wisconsin, not sure about Sorian. But he was referring to just getting some form of certification in informatics to show intent on my part to move into informatics. I will search around for certification but would only want one that is accredited. Any suggestions on getting general nursing informatics certification?

    Thanks again
    Carl

    1. Absolutely right...get involved with "user meetings," try to become a superuser for go lives, see if the IT dept at the hospital you work at needs testers, etc. This is the type of experience that without a doubt will help you later on in getting a job.

    I think universities now are doing a good job in marketing the idea that you need a master's degree to get a job in this field, but that is not necessarily true; also, just because you have a master's degree doesn't mean that you will immediately get hired; the master's degree will probably help you get an interview, but if you also have some experience as I mentioned above, that will also get you an interview.

    2. Epic is the only vendor that seems to require certification, which is given by them; if you find somebody online who says they will certify you in Epic if you send them some money, click away!

    To be certified in Epic, you either have to work for them, or for a hospital that will send you to Wisconsin to train you in epic, or some consulting companies will also hire you and send you away for training. Just watch out for those as they will really pay you a low salary and make you sign a contract for 2 years or so---at least that's what I've been told by some readers of my blog.

    As far as I know, no certification needed for Soarian. Cerner will certify you in an application, but also not required to get jobs. Like epic, Cerner trains you in a specific application, you pass a test, and then you get a certificate, but again, when you look for Cerner jobs, it won't say, "certification required" like many Epic jobs require.

    Not sure about other vendors, but as far as I know, vendor certification which is mandatory seems to be only associated with Epic.

    As far as university certifications...if you can get experience as mentioned above while working as a nurse, that's better than having a certification. Some people believe that enhances their resume, but personally, I don't think a certificate alone will get you a job.

    As stephenfnielsen commented, "a portfolio of experience is much more impressive" and I would add, useful in landing a job.
  9. 0
    Quote from overtonis
    hello,
    Everyone...great site. Been reading it for while and finally decided to post. Current RN in ICU and considering heading back to school for Masters in Informatics.

    Bit about myself:
    *Hold previous Business Degree then BSN in Nursing (in 10 months..outch!) at University of Drexel (ACE program for those of you who know of it).
    * Straight to ICU out of school at University of Pennsylvania Hospital in their Neuro/Traumu ICU.
    * Been ICU nurse for 5 years and now considering advanced nursing degree in informatics.

    While working as nurse I ended up building three e-commerce sites and two blogs and it occurred to me that I really enjoy computers aa much as healthcare. Current hospital just went live with Sorian and I do per diem work on side and have training next week for Epic system.
    Few questions: If you are currently in field of Health IT was advancing your degree in Health IT worth it? Would you recommend completing Masters Degree online? Are there specific Federal Grants for Nursing Informatics?
    Thanks in advance,
    Carl
    I know this post was made a while ago, so I hope someone is still viewing it. Carl, I am like your protege. I am a Drexel ACE grad, and I also work at HUP in the ED. I, too, am interested in the field of informatics, but as I am a relatively newer nurse, I have no idea how to go about getting there. Within the limitations of our hospital, how would you recommend going about it to get myself into the field? I was looking for masters programs, and really not sure if I wanted to do Informatics, or some Health Administration/leadership type of program? Maybe a combo of the two? Health admin with a informatics cert? Not sure what to do.. So, I'd lovee to hear what you advise, especially as far as getting the informatics experience at Penn?

    Jerry
  10. 0
    Carl,
    I was interested in seeing what you decided to do as far as a certificate vs a masters. I also have a BS in Business and a BS in Nursing. What schools did you look at? What was your experience with Drexel like online? I obtained my two Bachelor's in person and have taken several courses online through St. Joseph's in Maine. Thanks for the information.
  11. 0
    Carl,

    Great to see your post. I have just relocated from Philadelphia to the burbs of Toronto to work with Meditech. I have over 9 years in healthcare IT. I don't think a Masters in Informatics is worth the cost and sweat. I do think an MSN is worth it, depending on what it costs. I am checking out WGU for the cost and speed (after maybe taking an ICU course).

    I want to ask you how you like the ICU. I am thinking of taking the ICU program at Durham College. Durham College: Critical Care Nursing Graduate Certificate Program

    Not that I want to work in ICU for the rest of my life, but my contract expires, March 31st and thinking of maybe going north for the summer just for the experience; I can always come back to the GTA.

    Thanks,

    Kevin
  12. 0
    Hi Kevin,
    Education never hurts and the course looks thoughtfully put together but there are enough places out there that will train you in the ICU that you shouldn't have to pay for it on your own. If you are a traveller, most units will want 2 years experience in the unit before they bring you in as a traveller.

    Cheers,
    Chuck
  13. 0
    Thanks for the input, Chuck. I enrolled in the course, but with a new job, new country (home), and stressors I withdrew. Thing is they only charged me $100.00 for the withdraw and I can always enroll again. I'm fine with getting ICU experience either here in the GTA and/or in the north. I watched some youtube videos on the heart, and ICU stuff and am also attending this tomorrow: Workshops and plan on attending the class in February (though, it's bloody cold here right now).

    Just felt I didn't have the best background to continue in the course and be successful. Thanks again.


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