Thinking about exploring a career in nursing informatics?
Each of our nurses discovered the field in a unique way. Today our nurses share advice for fellow nurses who are interested in a career in nursing informatics.
Mildred: This field is a bit different from trying to get into nursing and that’s something that is important to keep in mind. In my experience on the job involvement with go-lives, being a super-user, or assisting in informatics projects is highly regarded. Additional education is also important, but often on the job training in conjunction with the degree is a necessity.
Carol G: First, make sure it genuinely energizes you. There are lots of ways to do this: job shadowing, internships, volunteering for informatics projects where you work, actively participating in professional organizations, or taking classes – and not necessarily paid/formal classes at a university. One really great way is to become a super-user of your clinical system. The key is to get exposure to your options and find what truly “lights you up”. Informatics offers many ways to bridge between clinical and technical, so figure out where your skills and your passion intersect and set your sights in that direction.
Second, network! Make acquaintance with the healthcare IT and informatics people around you. Ask them questions about how they got started, what their work is really like, what they like or dislike, what’s the most valuable step they took to get where they are, and anything else they’re willing to tell you. Having connections – both engaged mentors and more casual network members – will be invaluable in opening doors and enlighten you about options you may not know exist. Plus, people tend to remember others with enthusiasm for what they do and naturally want to help them.
Finally, prepare yourself to be a lifelong learner. Technology evolves quickly; having the ability and dedication to learn new things (and even better the willingness to teach them to yourself!) is essential. And it will be for as long as you’re in the industry.
Kasey: I suggest trying out some free coding courses or shadow a fellow nurse informaticists to see if it feels like a right fit. I strongly recommend shadowing multiple nurse informaticists to view the variety of different positions, as nurse informaticists are versatile and are used in many capacities. If you find being a clinical analyst for an EMR isn’t a great fit consider researching or working for a hospital system IT department.
Nichole W: Nursing informatics, like all of nursing, has many different opportunities available to meet skills and experience levels. My advice to any nurse interested in nursing informatics is to get connected with the nurse informaticists within your organization. This will help you gain a better understanding of what the position entails and help you decide if this is something you want to pursue. If you don’t have access to the nurse informaticists within your organization join a professional organization such as the American Nursing Informatics Association. This is a great place to gain knowledge, network, and explore the field.