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Is a graduate degree in informatics necessary in order to enter this field?

Thursday March 6, 2014
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Question:

Hi Donna,

I'm an RN and have attended your seminar, “Career alternatives for nurses” in the past, actually quite a few years ago and got a lot of good information from it. I'm looking to enter the field of nursing informatics as my background includes being a software developer at Bell Labs for 10 years and an RN for 8 years, all while working as a school nurse. I have not worked for the past three years. My education includes a bachelor’s in psychology, an AAS in nursing and a partially completed master’s degree in computer science.

The combination of nursing and technology has always intrigued me. I am extremely organized and thrive on information, statistics and all things geeky.

My question is related to education Is a graduate degree in informatics necessary in order to enter this field?

Although I would love to go back to school, I have two children in college, making it financially difficult to even consider another tuition. I'm not really sure where to start or how I can parlay the applicable background and education that I have already earned.

Intrigued By Technology

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Intrigued By Technology,

Nursing informatics sounds like the perfect combination of your nursing background with your software/technology background. The good news is that you do not need a degree in nursing informatics to work in this specialty. Your RN has great value here.

The field is hot and growing. Nurses are working for healthcare facilities as project managers in electronic medical records and other projects, as consultant/trainer/sales for companies that develop software of all types to be used in healthcare and for government and social service agencies on related projects.

To learn more about the specialty and to start networking your way back into the workforce and into the world of healthcare information technology, get out to local chapter meetings of both the American Nursing Informatics Association (www.ania.org) and the American Medical Informatics Association (www.amia.org). Attend as a guest if not a member. Have generic business cards made for exchanging contact information. Do some informational interviewing (http://www.nurse.com/events/ce-seminars) with nurses and others already working in the field. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it.

You can also identify which companies are leaders in the healthcare software field by asking around and doing some research online. Then you can contact those companies directly. They love to have nurses working for them and would probably snatch you right up with your background. There are companies that make software for EMR, staffing, shift bidding and more. Many of these companies exhibit at nursing and healthcare conventions, especially those of the above-referenced associations. See what’s coming to your area. These events are a great place to make in-person contact with industry insiders.

My “Career alternatives for nurse” seminar is constantly updated. So if you haven’t attended in a while, you might try to attend again. So much is new. I’m offering it twice in 2014. See where I’ll be (http://www.nurse.com/events/ce-seminars).

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.