How Do I Know if Informatics is for Me?

  1. I apologize if this question has been asked and answered. But, I think it's worth bringing up again because many of us continue to grapple with whether we should pursue informatics. At least I do.

    For those of you who are working in the informatics world, how did you decide that informatics was your niche? If you've been in informatics for a while, say five to ten years, are you feeling any signs of burnout or do you get up for work looking forward to your day? What are at least five characteristics needed to work as an informaticist? What are at least five signs a person should not pursue informatics?
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    About Mijourney

    Joined: Mar '00; Posts: 1,320; Likes: 295


  3. by   VU RN BSN
    Mijourney, I've been asking and wondering all the same questions!

    I sure wish someone would respond to this thread and provide answers.
  4. by   rninformatics
    Greetings Mijourney.

    VU RN BSN,
    Sorry for the delay in responding. I was attempting to let other's contribute before chiming in. Seeing that in the last 30 days:
    1) I have worked on a gap analysis comparing the benefits, risks and functionality of several different software products that would potentially support bench marking of care, regulatory requirements, documentation and billing in our outpt rehab department.
    2) Completed a week long analysis and training of the OR department's scheduling, documentation, MM and billing functions.
    3) Recieved training in preparation for our physician documentation project
    4) Assisted in the build of electronic assessments for the ED
    5) Been project lead for software upgrades in the Sleep Lab and Food Service depts
    6) Championed the creation of an order set Committee in prep for CPOE
    7) Provided new hire training on the nursing documentation and order entry systems
    8) Revised the change request form, completed multiple application forms, user request forms, etc

    There are ususally more projects to accomplish than you have hours in the day or staff in the department to complete.
    That being said, on the subject of providing answers to the questions about whether you should pursue an informatics career or not - thats a question you have to search for the answer within yourself. Unfortunately I cant answer that question for you.
    I've shared many times how I made my decision - I fell in love with the specialty, the technology and its ability to improve clinical practice and patient care. Yes after 10+ years there definately are days that I threaten to go back to practicing clinically full time. There are days, weeks and months when I wonder why I switched specialties, why I keep championing the use of the system(s) as designed or fighting with vendors to design better systems........ but let me have just one success... one time when a nurse, doc or other clinician walks up to me and says: this functionality or feature really helped me access best practice data, document the care I delivered, helped me with decision support, made it quicker or more convient for me to do my job, or safer for my patient, etc. Let me just have one convo like that and all the other challenges are forgotten.... for awhile. Five characteristics needed to succeed in informatics. Oh, there are more than five but I will stick with the short list.
    1) You need to be a proactive, decisive, independent critical thinker - read that as you dont wait for someone to tell you to do something if you see a problem. If you bring up a problem you also come with at least one solution.
    2) You manage change well - you are comfortable with change. If you cant manage it how are you going to assist others in managing it?
    3) You have an ability to see the big picture and not just your own point of view
    4) Hard work does not scare you
    5) You are a good teacher, communicator and peace maker and have excellent social skills - sometimes the "softer" skills are the most important
    Oh, I will add a #6 it goes without saying you can learn the technical aspects of the specialty.
    Gotta go to a staff meeting...........

    Quote from VU RN BSN
    Mijourney, I've been asking and wondering all the same questions!

    I sure wish someone would respond to this thread and provide answers.
    Last edit by rninformatics on Oct 22, '09 : Reason: typo
  5. by   sscoootzz
    Once again, rninformatics, thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful response. I look forward to threads with your sig involved in them.
  6. by   mgbswan
    Thanks so much for all your excellent input, rninormatics. I am another beginning RN looking at entering this specialty, and I know that a foundation of at least a few years of patient care experience is important. I have a Master's in Social Work and experience in health care relavant to nursing, but it's not the same as being a nurse on a hospital unit.

    I want to second rn informatics statement from Oct. 27: 5) You are a good teacher, communicator and peace maker and have excellent social skills - sometimes the "softer" skills are the most important(I apologize if I didn't follow correct procedure for quoting, since I'm new to posting).'

    My husband has worked in software applications for a large company for 21 years, and I always felt that his communication and social skills were the key to his successful advancement (and increase in responsibility that adds stress). He learns what the users' overall objectives, etc are when he begins working on development of their request for a new report, new way of organizing information, or a change in the information collected. I suspect that many people go into the IT field because they're not interest in working with people, so my husband is fortunate to have both people and computer application analyst skills'

    I'll be monitoring this and other related posts, so thanks again, in advance. I may have specific questions to post before long.