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Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth (Betty) Black has worked in education and workforce development for over 25 years, most recently with Joanne Dustin, in partnership as Synergy Consulting Collaborative LLC. Their latest work is Career Collaborators® Building Career Communities -- a unique, self-directed career development program for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. For more information, see

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Soft Skills Emphasized in Healthcare IT Roles

by Jul 2, 2012, 4:41 am ET

What are the hot skills in healthcare IT in 2012? If you answered database administrators, project managers, or EHR software development and maintenance, you may be thinking of the functional or industry-specific skills that have traditionally been core hiring requirements for IT staff. But things are changing. The newest emphasis in healthcare IT is on so called “soft-skills,” not only for people in these traditional roles, but for entirely new roles such as change agents and CNIOs — Chief Nursing Information Officers.

According to a 2012 IT research study and salary survey (InformationWeek), a recent development is the active recruiting and hiring by Kaiser Permanente of behavioral science Ph.D.s  to work with the IT team to help the organization assess its processes and offer expertise in change programs. According to CIO Phil Fasano, “Behavioral experts tend to look at change or workflow with a different eye.”

Recruiters may also be asked to find candidates for CNIO or Chief Nursing Information Officer roles. According to Mary Beth Mitchell, CNIO at Texas Health Resources, CNIOs are the “newest members of the C suite. They bridge the gap between nursing and IT and are often involved with the planning and deployment of clinical applications and other nursing-related IT.” Emphasis in this role is relationship building amongst key leaders and departments.

How are organizations defining “soft skills,” and why are they particularly in demand in the healthcare IT industry today? Soft skills are those behavioral competencies that enable individuals to interact with and influence others, be they teammates, customers, suppliers, or management. Skills such as effective written and verbal communication, influencing, negotiating, conflict resolution, team building, and strategic thinking top the list. Here’s how they come into play in the workplace. keep reading…

What Motivates a Geek to Take a Job

by May 23, 2012, 5:15 am ET

Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg marries his long-time girlfriend and the Washington Post writes, “Another reason, ladies, to give those college geeks a shot.”

Yes, geeks are hot. Particularly in the job market.

John Bischke, an advisor to several tech startups reports, “At a party recently a startup founder told me ‘If you could find me five great engineers in the next 90 days I’d pay you $400,000.’ Which is crazy talk. Unless you stop to consider that Instagram’s team (mostly engineers) was valued at almost $80 million per employee or that corporate development heads often value engineers at startups they are acquiring at a half-million to million dollars per person.” 

In fact, Bischke, in TechCrunch, goes on to report that coding is as hot as it’s ever been. IT recruiters tell us that “purple squirrels” (techies with very specific, very hard-to-find skills in technologies that are in very short supply) are still the bane of their existence.  Software developers in the newest technologies such as Python, Ruby, or Scala and even “older” .Net are still as scarce as the other species of purple squirrel.

Let’s take a look at the job market for these folks, and then get to what you can do about it. keep reading…