In today's health IT environment, graduate school students are as diverse as the employed market. Some graduate students have three or more years of experience in healthcare and others come directly from undergraduate programs, but often work part-time while attending classes. Some students are quite involved with national or local healthcare at the policy level, working on legislation, regulation or policy guidance and understand the healthcare and health IT environment from a conceptual, legal and operational perspective.
Using this variety of experience gained from their education, here are four ways graduate students come prepared for the workforce.
Graduate education is all about applying concepts and execution of efforts that for health IT students, optimizes clinical technology. When graduate students enter the professional world, they bring with them new ideas and actionable information that providers, purchasers, consumers and oversight agencies can use to support the transformation of healthcare policy, delivery and operations.
Most jobs that employers are now hiring for did not exist a few years ago. This means that new graduates—who are learning hands-on about the most current opportunities, technology applications and barriers—can have the same level of knowledge and expertise in the area as someone with more years of work experience.
Many online and residential graduate programs focus on leveraging technology, data and information to address the health goals of the providers, patients and payers through targeted, practical application. In some cases, graduate students learn to develop requests for proposals, participate in professional writing workshops for articulate communication, and engage in discussions with national healthcare leaders on current cybersecurity issues, expanded use of application programming interfaces, data analytics and telehealth.
Many programs emphasize translation of book learning into a value proposition for an organization by allowing students to work in groups under strict timelines with deliverables applicable to the current market. These include addressing social determinants of health, population health, clinical issues such as the opioid epidemic, and health IT barriers such as interoperability and data governance.
Every graduate invests their time and money to earn their degree. They know how to juggle multiple priorities, like school, work and family, manage their time, meet deadlines and understand the complexity and ever-changing environment of healthcare. Most of all they are adaptable—all traits employers are seeking.
They just need the opportunity to show you what they can do—so yes, they definitely can hit the ground running.
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