SEMS says ... Transitioning into the healthcare industry.

Author:Dekelbaum, Michele
Position:Viewpoint essay

Healthcare is a dynamic, challenging and growing field that provides essential services to people. As a healthcare industrial engineer and the director of operations improvement for The Methodist Hospital in Houston, I am frequently asked how an IE can transition into a healthcare position. My first response is always, "Why do you want to?" Having a stable job in a growth industry is a reasonable personal goal; it is not a reason for anyone to want you on their team. What do you find compelling about the field? What motivates you to give 125 percent every day? What would you do to overcome the inevitable challenges of working with diverse individuals who frequently are not familiar with the skills that you bring? Answering those questions well increases the probability that someone will take a chance that you are a perfect fit for healthcare.

The logistics of transitioning are the same as breaking into any new field. First, research the field. Understand the environment, the major constituents, the revenue cycle, the competition, the challenges and threats and the regulations. Network with colleagues, old classmates and friends. Reach out to industry insiders on social media, such as LinkedIn. Join some healthcare associations/societies and read their publications to understand the current issues and network with people already in the field. IIE has many resources and individuals related to healthcare within SEMS and within the Society for Health Systems (SHS). No one will expect you to be an expert, but the more knowledgeable you are, the more...

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