Hiring vets makes sense for hospital IT
November 11, 2014 in Medical Technology
The American Hospital Association just released a toolkit that gives guidance for hiring veterans as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, among other jobs. But it’s worth remembering that many returning service members also have much to offer when it comes to information technology skills.
[See also: CIOs see value in mission-driven vets]
The AHA’s hiring resource, “Hospital Careers: An Opportunity to Hire Veterans,” makes the case that veterans with medical backgrounds offer myriad skills and values learned from their time in the military.
Moreover, many of them already have the necessary credentials and licensure to jump right into practice upon leaving service.
[See also: Rush matches vets with health IT work]
The toolkit – developed in cooperation with the White House Joining Forces initiative – is specifically aimed at hospitals looking to hire licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses.
But the skill sets the AHA touts in veterans – the ability to work amid “crisis conditions” and in “under-resourced environments,” a propensity to be “problem solvers and strategic thinkers” and the fact that they enter civilian workplaces “having worked in teams throughout their entire military service” – should be appealing to almost any hospital IT department.
Earlier this year, the May 2014 Healthcare IT News cover story explored how the military and IT teams have more in common than one might think.
As chief information officers and their staffs contend with a near-constant barrage of new government regulations and management imperatives, often strapped for resources, managing new technologies as they keep vigilant against omnipresent security threats, it’s hard not to reach for battlefield metaphors.
Indeed, many hospital IT managers are themselves former service members. Jonathan Manis, CIO of Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health was in the Marines. Comparing his time there to his career in health IT, “it’s amazing, at least from my perspective, how similar they are,” he said.
“A lot of people think of the military in terms of combat operations,” he explained. “But really it’s more about mission. … We worked to accomplish certain missions very much like we do in healthcare.
“One of the things I think are most valued in the veterans we bring on (at Sutter Health) is that they’re used to very complex environments,” he added. “There’s a lot going on. There are multiple priorities.”
Dustin Leek, vice president of enterprise technology services at Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Health First, says his Army service taught him how large organizations work, and how effective hierarchies are structured.
“From a leadership perspective, the Army taught me a lot,” said Leek. “From a healthcare perspective, the Army taught me a lot about just dealing with the government, and big, slow burdensome processes.”
He also jokes that “as an IT executive in healthcare, specifically within an IDN, one of the things my army experience taught me to do was to know when to duck and cover when there’s different objects coming at you from different directions.”
The bigger point to remember, said Leak, is that a person learns “a lot of things in the military that don’t necessarily translate into a corporate job.” For example: “How many adults do you know who have been responsible for more than $10 million worth of equipment? Not very many.”