Stepping Away From the Bedside- Working in Informatics After Nursing

By Bree Parker

September 20, 2020

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Stepping Away From the Bedside

A little about me:

Currently, I work in Healthcare Informatics for an American company and am based in the United Kingdom. A little about me:  I graduated in 1997 and had worked as a travel nurse for several years. In 2012, I met my husband and decided to move to Australia to be with him so I applied for my nursing license through APHRA. After getting registered, I quickly found a job at a newly opened Private Hospital in Sydney.

Why Informatics

Stepping Away From the Bedside

In July, 2014, I returned from my honeymoon to find my Nursing Unit Manager had assigned me to Superuser training for our new EMR conversion. Due to my background as a travel nurse and many EMR conversions,  I spent 1:1 time with an Application Specialist to create the new ICU Flowsheet. Although it may have been tedious to review every observation item used in Critical Care, it was also incredibly rewarding when we went live with an awesome Flowsheet. After six months in the superuser role, I was asked to be Hospital Project Coordinator for the EMR implementation.

The project was going into its fifth year and was stalling. The Senior management wanted the project to progress.  I was seconded to the role from my ICU position and the hospital Go Live occurred five months later. Shortly after the successful Go Live, my husband and I moved to Amsterdam for his job. During our year in The Netherlands, I started the interview process with my current company.

My company has specifically hired clinical staff for Application Analyst positions. It is necessary to understand the workflow that clinic staff is using to recreate the errors being seen. A good clinical understanding of how the product should function and the ability to troubleshoot when it doesn’t function as expected is necessary for this role.

What do I actually do as an Applicant Analyst?

I work Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 5:30. Occasionally I travel to customer sites, but as I work in Product Support, it’s much less than my implementation colleagues. My daily work involves; picking up tickets from our queue, recreating workflows to test errors, testing new development that will be deployed into the products, creating JIRA tickets for bugs and new development, investigating errors that arise for the customer, conducting meetings with customers, engaging with colleagues from all over the world, and dealing with high stress situations.

Skills are required for this role

Stepping Away From the Bedside

Varied skills are required for this role. Leadership is necessary as well as management skills as often the customer may be difficult or frustrated. Working as a nurse for too many years to count, I have developed my own management skills and have assisted in resolving issues instead of escalating the situation.

System analysis is critical to this role. I assess how users interact with the EMR by examining the workflow and input of data as well as the output of information. Is the process working as expected? Is the problem a bug or is it working as designed? As well as collaborating with implementation to ensure the EMR functions more efficiently for the organization and clinical staff. Data Protection and Compliance are vital to this role.

Yearly, I must complete Data Protection Education to ensure the patient’s record remains confidential. Often, we work over VPN and use remote desktops. We may not receive patient data via email and tickets may not include any vulnerable information related to the patient. Often, an organization sends information via a Minimum Dataset Form, detailing the issue found. I use these details to try and work out the problem.

How my nursing background helps

Coordination, facilitation, and integration; I am the Middle Man. I can translate the complicated language of our Technical Specialists into easy to understand clinical terms or basic computer language. Also, I can discuss what might be happening on the back-end of the EMR with the clinical staff and make it more relatable. We use an integrated platform for one of our Healthcare tools. There is also coordination of Go-Live activities and project management skills required.

I must facilitate month reports and weekly internal and external meetings with other departments in our organization or with customers. Go Live activities must be coordinated well so that everything that needs to happen will happen. Travel, hotels, phones, schedules, and VPN/EMR accounts must be organized so that we aren’t struggling at the last moment with these tasks.

Recently, I’ve transferred from the Windsor office to the Edinburgh office. Since I’ve moved to Scotland, I’m travelling a bit more for my role.

Over all, working in IT requires a very similar skill set as nursing. I love my role and my job.


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