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How to get into Informatics or the IT side of nursing/healthcare? Are masters really necessary? I am looking to work in Los Angeles or Southern California.

May 12th, 2022

I am a former director of Informatics and information systems and instructor of Informatics in past lives.
The small hospital I was in decided to upgrade from a legacy data system too a full hospital computer system. I was asked to be on the committee because I was part of the capital budget committee (I was the ICU manager too). Once on the committee it was apparent that I was one of two people in the entire place that had any understanding of what a fully distributed hospital IT system was or could do.( I have been ever grateful to Issac Asimov for his 1953 stories for that life past twist.) Oddly the only other person with my level of understanding was also a nurse and he worked ICU with me!

IT made a huge difference in overall nursing happiness having "A NURSE" running the project.

Later when I moved into university education I assisted in creating the informatics program at the univerity based partly on the experiences I had.

How does one "break into IT?
Educationally Having a at least minor in nursing informatics is helpful, there are masters degrees in informatics and if you want to be in a big system you will likely need a PhD in BioInformtics for some of the research institutions.

Not educated but have home acquired skills talk to your nurse manager and find out how you can become a 'SuperUser" for your unit. As the informatics folks get to know you and you participate in yet another committee meeting you will be able to provide assistance to the current system, develop plans for future upgrades. Once you get the rep fr knowing what you are up to and are a positive benefit to the infomatics and IT folks ask the informatics department who you need to formally join the team.

AND If you think for one minute informatics is a cake job .... leave that nonsense at the door.

Much of it is customer service of frustrated and angry nursing personnel who clearly are clueless about how the system works, are angry because it will not do what they want, the doctor is standing right here and wants his information, I want to go home and I am locked out.....

Depending on how big the organization is you will have the it is a hardware problem call IT, it is a software problem call IS, it it a nursing problem call the supersuser circus.

I was fortunate since we were just getting into clinical computing and I was already a manager, - now of the informatics and information systems department, and vice-chair of the capital budget committee I was able to have complete approval authority over all software, hardware , supplies, and computer related 'stuff' brought in so we had full compatibility of all systems. Made it much easier than supporting a gazillion different systems.

Good luck.