*This blog post will be a three part series on how I transitioned from bedside nursing to the information technology sector. I was inspired to write my own story after someone read my previous blog posts in this blog and asked me for some words of wisdom.
After I graduated from my nursing informatics program, I was determined to find a job in the field. No one said it was going to be easy. But no one said it was going to be hard either. Even though my professors told my class what types of jobs to get, no one really helped us in transitioning from the clinical area to the technology world.
I did get advice from my preceptor in my last semester of graduate school. If I didn’t get advice from her, no one would have told me what kind of job I needed to get. For some reason, I was under the assumption that I would be qualified to be an Information Technology manager or director. Little did I know I had to start over and be either a systems analyst or trainer. I thought to myself I had already paid my dues being a clinical nurse.
After much consideration and realizing my preceptor was right, I looked for any type of job I could get. I didn’t really care what job I got, I just wanted my foot in the door. The only experience I had was being a nurse. I had to translate my nursing skills into the information technology world. I really wasn’t sure how to do that; a lot of what I learned were trial and error.
My first order of business was to rewrite my resume so my informatics skills stood out. I added the preceptorship I did at MedStar Health and added all of my classes I took at the University of Maryland to my resume so that I had both the nursing and the technology worlds into one resume. I also added all of the administrative work I did as a charge nurse and as a preceptor in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. After finishing and reading my resume, I felt conflicted. I felt like an imposter. I realized I did not have a “real job” in information technology. My only experience I had was in nursing and using all of the fancy technological equipment didn’t even seem enough. I even added my information sciences on my resume to make me look “technical”. My resume looked great on the nursing side but on the technology side? Who was I kidding and worse yet who would even hire me? I had a lot of moments of self-doubt. The one trait I had no one could take away from me was motivation. I was determined to find a job in informatics. I knew looking for a job would be a full-time endeavor but I didn’t care. I worked three days as a nurse anyway. The other four days were spent on the Internet or looking in the Nursing Spectrum to see what postions had posted. I wanted to work in the field I got my degree in. I didn’t spend the three years in vain in graduate school to not find a job. Even though I liked being an intensive care unit nurse, it wasn’t enough for me. I felt there was something missing but I didn’t know what that missing piece was. I applied to every company and position I saw was hiring. It never even occurred to me that some of these positions I was not even qualified for. Some were vendors and technology companies. I researched the different vendors in my area. One of the areas I was interested in was telehealth and even wrote my thesis on it. Since I worked in the ICU, the e-ICU intrigued me even more. I learned more about the company, VISICU (now owned by Philips General Electric) and was located in Baltimore – where I was living at the time. Perfect I thought. But, VISICU was not hiring. So, I kept the momentum and looked for more jobs with no hits. I even looked at the job openings at Johns Hopkins where I worked as a nurse. The only person who helped me with my transition was the Clinical Specialist in the MICU. She gave me names and numbers to directors at Hopkins and I am forever grateful for her help. At the time, Hopkins didn’t want to take nurses and transition them in the information technology field. This practice was foreign to them so it made looking for a job even harder. I expanded my horizons. I figured there were no job openings in Maryland and wanted to expand my search to Washington DC, Virginia, and New York City. So, I took a break from looking for an informatics position and accepted a travel assignment to New York
City. I would travel and make some money while experiencing a new city. And then the informatics position would come when I wasn’t looking. And it did.