пятница, 14 сентября 2012 г.

Crafting your nursing informatics career path: resume writing and interviewing tips. - CARING Newsletter


The demand for Clinical IT leadership has provided new roles and opportunities for nurses in all areas of healthcare. Now is the time to craft a successful career path in nursing informatics. This article will provide suggestions on assessing leadership skills, writing a winning resume and interviewing tips.


The Demand

The good news is that nurse informaticists are in great demand for information technology (IT) leadership positions throughout the country and the trend is expected to continue over the next decade or longer. The growth is being spurred by federal mandates and increased spending in electronic health record market in the United States as stated in the August 1, 2006 by Healthcare

IT News editors:

    'In a report published last month by IDC's Health Industry    Insights, the research and advisory firm forecasts total information    technology spending for the electronic health record market in the    United States to increase to $4.8 billion in 2015. The study reveals    a compounded annual growth rate(CAGR) of 15.8 percent in the    EHR market over the next tens years, with current spending in that    market at $1.1 billion in 2005.'     'We're seeing a renewed interest and investment in healthcare IT,    sparked by President's Bush's federal mandate to create electronic    medical records for Americans by 2014 and reignited by the    Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology's    product certification announcement.' says Lynne Dunbrack,    Program Director of payer research for Health Industry Insights,    and lead author of the report.' 

As the move to the electronic health record and computerized physician order entry in hospitals and ambulatory care is taking place, healthcare providers, government agencies, higher education, vendors and consulting firms are eagerly seeking qualified nurse informaticists to fill newly formed positions. The bad news is that the demand is far greater than the supply. For example, Hersher Associates (Siegel, 2007) has tracked a ten-fold increase in the volume of Clinical Information System position searches as well as a five-fold increase in clinical IT positions in IT departments over a six-year period. If you are a nurse informaticist looking for career advancement, this is a terrific time to be in the job market in healthcare IT. Are you prepared for the next step in your career path in nursing informatics? Some of the following career guidelines may help in your quest. Included in this article are tips on assessing leadership skills, writing a winning resume, and preparing for the interview.

Crafting Your Path

A wonderful way to start crafting your career path in nursing informatics is to evaluate your leadership skills. Most hiring executives seek 'soft' skills or innate skills that include interpersonal skills, self-confidence, communication style, flexibility, and the 'wow' factor of image and personal style as well as a sense of humor. The 'hard' skills are your learned and acquired skills such as technical knowledge, business acumen, experience in change management, political savvy, ability to educate, and strategic visioning skills. Determine what skills you have and what skills you are lacking.

Keep a notebook of where you have been, what have you done, what accomplishments can be attributed to your contributions, what type of projects you enjoy and what types of personal issues you need to consider. If you feel ready to grow in your career and move forward, ask yourself: what level of responsibility do you want, are you prepared to be a leader or executive, what kind of boss do you want, and in what kind of environment? Begin networking and finding the right coaches to help you down your chosen path. Be sure to talk with your family and ask for their support.

The Resume

Everyone, from all walks of life, seeks help for writing their resume. It is hard to do. Career counselors have many approaches to this age-old problem. Many different styles and techniques are suggested, but healthcare IT, and specifically clinical IT, is unique. What makes you unique as a nurse informaticist needs to be described in your resume. Include your experiences in direct patient care, clinical care process design, quality, patient safety, people management, leadership of electronic health record and computerized physician order entry implementations. Also include your knowledge of key advanced clinical applications and vendors, your global view of the healthcare delivery process, and all involvement with physicians, department heads, and senior executives as part of your experiences on IT committees, implementations, or projects to demonstrate ability to build relationships with these groups or individuals.

Volunteer to be on committees for CARING, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA), Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS) or your local HIMSS chapters. Read several clinical IT leadership position descriptions posted on CARING (www.caringonline.org) or other healthcare IT websites to learn what hiring executives are looking for and pattern your own resume on some of the skills and attributes being sought.

The resume is a marketing document for you to describe your background and accomplishments. As you begin writing your resume, the best approach is to use a traditional reverse chronological resume format in a readable font. A hiring executive will be looking for contact information on top of the resume's first page, and a summary of professional and career experiences in the opening paragraph, which will describe, 'why you are qualified'. In the body of the resume, under career experience, include the name, location, and brief description of your employers, followed by bulleted action words describing key accomplishments for each position. Use keywords unique to clinical IT, like electronic health record (EHR) or CPOE, but avoid acronyms too specific to a certain area. On the last page there should be a summary of education, credentials, and association memberships. On a separate page, place presentations and publications, if applicable. Share your resume with friends and mentors and revise it once a year as you add more accomplishments to your portfolio or change positions or employers.

History in healthcare and IT is important and valued, so include all of your positions from the beginning of your career, and don't leave any gaps. A one-page resume is too restrictive, so use several pages if you need more space. A long curriculum vitae is not considered a resume, so save that format for more academic opportunities. Most resumes are currently sent in email format. Be sure to check spelling and grammar carefully and don't include any decorative designs or fancy bolding and italics. When answering a job posting, be sure to send a brief cover letter with your resume describing why you are qualified for the position and how you can be contacted for an interview.


The types of positions open to nurses in IT may include:

* Vice president/chief information officer

* Chief nursing or clinical information officer

* Vice president of clinical systems

* Faculty in nursing and clinical informatics

* Directors

* Consultants

* Vendor sales representatives

* Product specialists

* Managers

* Coordinators

* Project leaders

* Analyst roles

These jobs may or may not have any direct reports, but may include work across the organization and cross functionally with many departments. The reporting relationships are typically in the IT department or under medical or clinical informatics leadership. See Figure 1 for recent survey results for hiring in IT positions. While salaries tend to be dependent on the size and the location of the organization, they are trending upward due to the competitiveness for these positions, as seen by human resource professionals and recruiters.

Some examples of recent job postings from Hersher Associates:

* Director of Clinical Informatics (RN), Midwest location, community hospital reports to VPCIO, salary to $150,000, plus bonus

* Chief Clinical Information Officer (RN), Large national Integrated Delivery Network (IDN), multi-hospital, reports to Senior VPCIO, salary to $175,000, plus bonus

* Vice President/Chief Information Officer (RN), three hospital IDN in large southern city, reports to CEO, salary to $200,000, plus bonus

* Vice President of Clinical Systems (RN), academic medical center and IDN, southeast location, reports to Senior VP/CIO, salary to $230,000, plus bonus

Interviewing tips

Be proactive, do your homework and research the prospective company thoroughly. Read their website, review annual reports, and talk to previous employees. Make sure you have correct directions and an agenda for your meeting. Plan to arrive at least fifteen minutes early.

First impressions are important when in interviewing with the hiring executive. Therefore, dress in professional business attire (wear a great suit), avoid perfume or shaving lotion, wear minimum jewelry and carry a leather briefcase. Even if organization has a business casual look, it is better to be conservative and dress more formally for the interview. Be honest and open about your background and experiences and be prepared to discuss why you are thinking of leaving your current position as well as why you left previous positions. Bring several copies of your resume and references.

While you are interviewing with a potential employer, be aware of your surroundings. Are staff happy, positive, have family photos in their offices? How do people communicate with each other- face-to-face, email, or in group meetings? The corporate culture is very important for you to assess. Fitting into that corporate culture will be your path to success.

During the interview, ask smart questions, but don't oversell yourself. Hiring executives are looking for the right image and personal presence and a champion for their team. Be sure you understand the position and ask about process and next steps. If there are additional interviews, your spouse or partner may be asked to visit with you. There may be a tour and a dinner and additional meetings with peers and or subordinates. Be ready to discuss salary, benefit needs and a start date, and follow up with thank you notes.

What if you have been at the same hospital for 10 or more years in various nursing and clinical IT roles? What do you need to do to advance your career? It might be time to breakout and seek new opportunities. Realize starting a new position can take 6 months to a year to master the new challenges, but you can preserve and broaden your career in many ways. Chances are you cannot acquire all of the skill sets and experiences you need at one organization. What can you expect? If you look toward consulting or working with a vendor, which will broaden your experience level, expect that your lifestyle and life situation will change since these careers will want considerable travel. Advantages of working for a vendor or consulting firm are that it can allow you to work remotely, travel and see the world, and gain a tremendous amount of healthcare IT experience quickly. It may also lead to possible new information technology opportunities that you may not have been aware of. Another way to branch out is to attend healthcare IT conferences hosted by professional organizations such as:

* Healthcare Information Management Systems Society, (HIMSS)

* American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA)


* American Medical Directors in Informatics Association (AMIA)

* University of Maryland School of Nursing's Summer Institute of Nursing Informatics (SINI)

These conferences offer networking and education and opportunities to learn about the healthcare industry outside of your current employer.

Many new positions require relocation. Can you and your family relocate? A new nurse informaticist position most likely will require you to relocate. Is your family prepared to move to a new city? This may be difficult if high school children or aging parents keep you in one area.


Right now, nurses with IT leadership experience are being sought by providers, vendors, consulting firms, higher education and others due to the growth of advanced clinical information systems that provide organizations with an electronic health record, computerized physician order entry and clinical documentation systems.

The healthcare information systems job market is strong. It is especially true for clinical IT talent, based on over 300 job postings on these healthcare career websites:

 www.ache.org            American College of Healthcare Executives  www.ahima.org           American Health Information Management                         Association  www.amdis.org           American Medical Directors of Information                         Systems  www.amia.org            American Medical Informatics Association  www.ania.org            American Nursing Informatics Association  www.CARINGonline.org    CARING  www.himss.org           HIMSS Job Mine 

Many of the reasons why nurses are being sought for IT leadership positions are based on fundamental skills unique to their profession including being knowledge experts in the clinical care process, global systems view, ability to manage large projects or staff, and understanding the need to access patient information. This is the time to move forward, if you are a nurse seeking advancement in healthcare information technology. Good luck!


Dunbrack, L., Holland M., U. S. Electronic Health Records Spending 2006-2015 Forecast and Analysis, Health Industry Insights, (#H1202444; July 2006). Retrieved June 27th, 2007 from http://www.idc.com/research/simplesearchres.jsp.

Hersher Associates, Ltd. (2006), 2006 CIO Survey Results, Comparative Data from Healthcare CIOs, Hersher Associates, Ltd, Northbrook, IL. Retrieved June 23rd, 2007 from htttp://www.hersher.com

Siegel, B.R. (2007, February). Clinical IT Position Growth chart, information presented at the Career Development Workshop, HIMSS Conference 2007, New Orleans, LA

Bonnie R. Siegel, Vice President--Bonnie joined Hersher Associates, Ltd. in 1997 and has over twenty-seven years experience in healthcare information systems market research, executive search and consulting. Prior to Hersher, she spent eighteen years at a major national healthcare consulting firm in senior leadership roles responsible for healthcare technology market research, seminar and symposium education, and healthcare information systems consulting. Her consulting experience encompasses national and international healthcare technology assessment, strategic planning, and information systems vendor evaluation and selection. Bonnie is an expert at recruitment of Clinical IT leadership positions, CIOs, Directors, clinical system positions and other senior level executive searches. She has a Bachelor's of Science degree in biology education from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Bonnie is a member of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), The Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI), American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA), CARING and American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA).

Bonnie Siegel may be reached at siegelb@hersher.com.

 Figure 1 Recent CIO survey results from 97 CIO respondents 'What positions were hired in IT in 2006?'  IT Security Leadership            5%  Project Management                       30%  Quality Officers                 20%  Clinical IT Leadership Positions                        45%  Hersher Association research 2007  Note: Table made from pie chart.