Recently I earned a Master’s in Education (Adult and Distance focused) from The Pennsylvania State University. Great. Now what? Well, I want to continue my focus on lifelong learning and I want to apply what I have worked so hard to earn. I hope to teach online in a Master’s of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program as an adjunct by balancing my busy HIMSS career and my personal life. By doing so, I will couple my 20+ years of work in a healthcare environment while also pursuing my passion of education, which, by the way, I didn’t know existed until about six years ago. Not unlike those wanting to establish a career in health IT, I am following largely the same advice for my own professional pursuits in Adult Education as I have for other job seekers:
- Create a plan. Identify where you want to be in 3-5 years. (I want to teach in an MHA program and I want to earn the Fellow designation, FACHE, of the American College of Healthcare Executives.)
- Join and volunteer in a professional association. It’s one thing to join; it’s another to participate. (I joined the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE). This was perfect because so much of my academic research pointed back to their various professional journals. And, I have signed up to participate in the Health SIG (Special Interest Group) where the focus is on adult education in the health sector.) I also became the HIMSS representative for the Association of University Programs in Healthcare Administration (AUPHA). HIMSS has been a member for quite some time but now I can focus on my passion through my workplace. And I am putting my ACHE membership to use by pursuing fellowship.
- I recently was appointed an Accreditation Commissioner for CAHME (Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Education). This is the organization that accredits colleges and universities which have MHA programs. I’ve recently attended my first meeting where there is a mix of academia and professional organizations that represent healthcare. Certainly, this is a great place for me to engage with others who have already established careers in this field.
- I am actively watching the various academic job boards for potential opportunities.
- Create a shortlist of schools where I want to teach. While job boards can be helpful, another tactic I use is to create a list of schools where I want to teach. I then can target those organizations for further study and follow-up.
As I’ve demonstrated above, looking for a position in [pick an industry] is no different than looking to establishing oneself in health IT. It takes a plan, a willingness to engage with an organization like HIMSS, networking and volunteering (HIMSS has over 4,500 volunteers engaged in various aspects of health IT), focused job searches with the HIMSS JobMine as well as a list of corporate entities, organizational affiliates, academic organization affiliates, Regional Extension Center Affiliates, and non-profit partners, all focused on healthcare setting.
What other activities do you engage in to find your career passion?