Strong clinical expertise…
… but lacking software experience
Looking for an healthcare informatics role
You could be a sonographer, MRI technologist or X-RAY tech. And you’re interested in healthcare informatics. Specifically PACS. It’s the natural pathway of curiosity since you’re exposed to PACS. If you’re an X-RAY tech, and if you were interested in the IT side of PACS then you can absolutely transition into the PACS career. You already understand the most important thing.. meeting the clinical need for the patient. You understand the sense of urgency that comes with the job. In addition, you know the workflows and how the system should be designed to meet the department needs. You understand that workflows are created for the clinical efficiency. They’re not just rules that your department and IT have agreed upon. You understand the reasoning of why the workflows are in place… and how it effects the patient. After all, healthcare is now about the patient centric approach.
Advantages of background – Familiarity of modalities. A decent number of technologists are multi-modality trained. An X-Ray tech may also be a trained CT and MRI tech. These modalities can function across departments. For example a US tech can work both in Radiology performing Abdomen & Pelvis scans, work in GYN or work Cardiology, performing echocardiograms of the heart. Having familiarity of the medical device is helpful when understanding how to configure the device.
The advantage isn’t limited to clinical imaging technologists. Any allied health worker can benefit from one big advantage which is medical terminology. Understanding the jargon is a big plus and allows you to communicate effectively with medical staff. In addition, they’re used to the environments and being an end user of the various medical systems.
Here’s your plan
Read the book for imaging informatics – We highly recommend that you read the SIIM Practical Imaging Informatics – Foundations and Applications for PACS professionals. In fact, if you were to only read 1 book, this would be the one. The book contains content for both medical + information systems. It’s an all-in-1 book that specifically geared towards the pacs professional. Each chapter contains practice exams that can help solidify the chapter contents for you. Lastly, the chapters of the book are based on the topics that are covered in the CIIP certification exam. If you’re an X-RAY, CT tech, you’re likely eligible for this test. So it would make sense to read this book on your path to certification as a certified imaging informatics professional.
External Amazon.com affiliate link for the SIIM Practical Imaging Informatics book below
Read the book for networking. The one I recommend is the Exam Cram CompTIA Network+. The reason why I chose this book is the same as the above. It’s a book that’s geared towards a specific certification exam. In this case, it’s the CompTIA Network+ certification. As you read, you’ll learn about network communication concepts that are integral in the PACS field. In addition, you’ll be preparing for a certification. If you’re a wiz and you can master this certification, you may get an entry level job as a network engineer. But let’s keep our eyes on the prize. You want to become a PACS administrator.
External Amazon.com affiliate link for the Exam Cram CompTIA Network+ book below
Use Youtube to watch free content. Stay subscribed to this channel for more PACS related information. For Networking, the ExamCram book might be a little boring to read through by itself. To compliment this book, check out Professor Messer’s Youtube channel. He has a series of training courses organized into youtube playlists. Just go to channel and look for the CompTIA Network+ Training course. These videos are awesome. There are 101 videos in this specific course but organized into short segments. Don’t have to time to watch youtube videos. No problem, next time you’re driving in your car put this on instead of the radio. Or next time you’re doing dishes or the laundry. Put this on. Easy peasy duhh.
If you’ve started reading the Network+ book and feel like the topics are a little too advanced for you, don’t freak out. We can take a step back and instead, start from the basics. Read the CompTIA A+ Certification book. The book gives you baseline computer knowledge and skills. IT professionals use this certification as a starting point to launch into their relative specialties. Again this book is geared towards the certification. There are a ton of A+ courses available online but for free and high quality content, we highly recommend going to Professor Messer’s youtube channel and looking for the CompTIA A+ Training course.
External Amazon.com affiliate link for the Exam Cram CompTIA A+ book below
Personal Note from the founder
If this is what you really want, don’t be discouraged. I applied to several positions where I wasn’t even considered for an interview. Definitely more than 20 places but I forget the exact number. It was frustrating to the point I would reply to emails asking why I was not considered. They said it was because someone with more experience was chosen. Never heard so many NOs in my life.
To make myself more attractive, I took the CIIP exam. I also read up on a lot of PACS, networking, informatics books. I added this to my cover letter and made it clear I was willing to do anything. I actually spent A LOT of time on my cover letter. I wanted to describe my eagerness to learn and how I’ve dedicated ALL my free time to prepare for the role. Then squeezing that into one paragraph.
I think the hardest part is to not have your resume filtered out by HR. You want HR to pass your resume along to a manager who may see the benefit of hiring an RT. So I think it’s important to include certain PACS keywords in the resume. For example, in the description as a cath lab RT, it would be pointless to describe the clinical responsibilities. They don’t care about that. Saying you’re an RT is enough. Instead fill the description with any PACS or informatics experience you had. For example troubleshooting an issue with an admin, being a super user, training new techs how to use PACS, etc.
I didn’t intern and I didn’t have any experience. I just kept trying until I was lucky enough someone agreed to interview me. Overall I applied non-stop for 8 months until I was hired. My advice is simple. Don’t give up, you’ll get it eventually.