Would prior IT experience trump clinical experience?

  1. 0
    I graduate in ten months with an ADN degree for a second career in nursing. My previous career was IT. I'd like to get some opinions on whether or not my IT experience (which is fairly extensive) would give me an advantage in getting an informatics position right out of school.

    Or would most informatics positions want clinical experience first, regardless of what I know about IT/IS?

    Also, if I could jump right into informatics, am I shooting myself in the foot, but not getting the first few years to hone clinical skills?

    Thanks.
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    If clinical informatics is the only thing you want to do for the rest of your nursing career then you don't have a problem. If, however, you have an interest in clinical nursing then jumping right into an informatics position after graduation will most certainly hamstring you if you decide you want to switch to a patient care position. I can't say it wouldn't be possible to make the change but I think it would be highly unlikely.
  5. 0
    That's sort of what I was thinking. I'm going to try to shadow someone in informatics soon to try to get a better feel for it.
  6. 0
    Quote from betakurt
    I graduate in ten months with an ADN degree for a second career in nursing. My previous career was IT. I'd like to get some opinions on whether or not my IT experience (which is fairly extensive) would give me an advantage in getting an informatics position right out of school.

    Or would most informatics positions want clinical experience first, regardless of what I know about IT/IS?

    Also, if I could jump right into informatics, am I shooting myself in the foot, but not getting the first few years to hone clinical skills?

    Thanks.
    This is what I have seen happen at 3 different hospitals that were looking for entry level nursing informatics candidates...and remember, I'm saying "nursing informatics" because those specific jobs required nursing clinical experience.

    Candidates who had prior IT experience, and had just graduated with a nursing degree were simply overlooked because they had zero clinical experience. Hospitals were specifically looking for somebody who understood clinical workflows and basically every hospital said, "yes, they have IT experience, but if we sent this person to a group of nurses, they have zero credibility, so we're not interested."

    With that said, you can always apply for IT hospital jobs that are not specifically geared to nursing, and you might be just fine; for example, colleague I worked with has a computer engineering degree, with a lot of programming experience; he got laid off a few years back from his IT job, and went into nursing. He hadn't even worked 2 months as an RN, when he was offered a job as an interface analyst at his hospital; however, as you know, an interface analyst doesn't require clinical experience.

    Nonetheless, if your goal is to specifically work in a job that requires specific nursing clinical experience, the odds might be stacked against you right out of nursing school. However, if you're going for generic jobs that do not require nursing experience, you could be fine. It really comes down to the job requirements. Also many vendors even hire people with zero nursing or IT experience, but these jobs don't get advertised as nursing informatics, but maybe as clinical analyst, software consultant, etc. Just expand your horizons when looking for jobs.

    My question is---do you even want to work as a clinical nurse? Or do you want to get a 'computer' job right out of school?
  7. 0
    I want to work in a position that takes advantage of my RN license. I'll pay my dues doing whatever I need to out of the gate. My ultimate goal, however, isn't bedside care. I haven't really decided on one specialty that I want to do yet.

    I've only seen a handful of nursing areas while in school. OR jumped out at me. I enjoyed it. Med/surg and nursing homes, I did not. I like the technical aspects and the teamwork of the OR. There's too much "buck-passing" on the floor.

    I've had several instructors tell me that I would excel in the informatics field, and technology has always been something that comes very easily for me. I was always sought after in my IT jobs for my ability to explain complex computer concepts in layman's terms--which I assume would be somewhat beneficial in nursing informatics.

    I never finished an IT degree and that was very limiting in my previous career.

    I like that RNs have a lot of flexibility and job options/specialities. I didn't even know that informatics existed when I signed up for nursing school. But now it seems to be a good fit for my skill set--or will be with any necessary clinical experience.
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    The best informatisists are the one who can communicate well with both the IT and clinical worlds.

    Not having clinical experience will negatively impact your career as a NI. You need to be able to sit in meetings and say "I would have quit my job as a bedside nurse if you made me use this tool..." or "This would have made my job so much easier if we had this tool when I was a bedside nurse...".

    You will be benefited by your IT background, but there is a reason they want you to have clinical experience for NI jobs.

    Good luck!
    sekishin, rninformatics, and crbetts like this.
  9. 2
    You NEED that clinical experience. I wish IT people would realize that they need to design systems that work well for the nurses that are in the trenches. These people just sit in some office somewhere and program all day and don't have a clue about how their program works in the real world. Please, please, please get some clinical floor experience, then please design your program and get out there in the real world and try to use it with a real patient load of 5-8 patients for a real 12 hour shift. Just my 2 cents.
    sekishin and rninformatics like this.


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