I’m about 6 months late pointing to this podcast, but better late than never. Our very own Gwen Darling was interviewed on the Healthcare IS Podcast. She gives some interesting details into her health IT background and also the history of Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today along with the evolution of professionals coming to HIT and how to get started in a health IT career. You can listen to the whole podcast here, but I also love Gwen’s answer to the question of how someone can get into the health IT workforce. Here’s her answer:
Well that’s the million-dollar question as you know and like you I get asked that question on a regular basis. I’m a real believer in education. When the government awarded all of those millions of dollars for training and set up the workforce development program, where they funded universities and community colleges a lot of those programs were thrown together in a hurry and from what I understand in speaking to a lot of the students and even the administrators of those programs, they fail to look at job placement as part of the overall program so they were putting a lot of these students through programs with the understood promise that they would be employable when they got out. And that’s just not what’s happened. So there are a lot of people who have been disillusioned by the whole education side of things.
So that being said, I think that a lot of the universities now understand that’s something to include in their program, and so they are starting to include job placement services within their programs. So I do a lot of work with the University of Illinois, Chicago for instance. They have a masters in informatics program their candidates are having really great luck finding positions after graduation because UIC is forming partnerships with employers in taking a big interest in their graduates employment. I would say if someone does want to go the education route and pick up some extra education, to make sure that whatever university or organization is providing the education has those job placement services as part of what they offer. That would be something I would definitely recommend.
I know it’s difficult too, I read a lot of these other professionals who are giving advice on this and they say, well volunteer. Well that’s difficult to do because as a volunteer your not getting paid. So I hesitate to even suggest putting in some volunteer time. I know that if someone is already in the clinical side of things it’s a lot easier to get into HIT that can be as simple as just expressing an interest in learning more in that side. I’ve talked to a lot of candidates who that’s how they got their start. They just made it clear to their supervisors, ‘this is something I want to learn,’ and they were afforded the opportunity to do so.