Dear HIM-Interchange readers Welcome to the second issue for 2020. This is a special issue focusing on health information management education, in particular, student and supervisor experiences of professional practice placements. Merilyn Riley (2020) from La Trobe University provides a guest editorial on the topic of ‘work integrated learning’, which is what clinical placements or professional experience placements are. Following this, you can read articles from former health information management students, most of whom are now employed as Health Information Managers (HIMs), on what they gained from their professional practice placements. While the workplaces and the projects students work on during their placements may have changed since I did my training (it does not look like preparing a medical record procedure manual is on the agenda these days), the value of these placements, the skills they help to build and the confidence they give to students remains the same.
In late 2019, the Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan released the following statement, ‘‘The performance- based funding model (of universities) that has been finalised makes an explicit link between funding and one of the key goals of every university: to produce job-ready graduates with the skills to succeed in the modern economy” (Bolton 2019 Oct 2). This modelhas resulted from a slowly simmering shift from a longstanding perspective of universities as harbingers.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has developed the National Digital Health Strategy with a remit to evolve digital health capability. The strategy proposes seven strategic priority outcomes, including digitally- enabled models of care that improve accessibility, quality, safety and efficiency, to be achieved by 2022 (Australian Digital Health Agency 2017). A digital medical record platform is paramount to achieving these outcomes. With the deadline of 2022 approaching it is a pivotal time to recognise trends and provide potential solutions and lessons learnt after implementation of a digital medical record.
While I was studying my Master’s degree in health information management, I was very excited and thrilled by the diversity of potential career pathways. For me, this was a perfect university degree to broaden my horizons and discover my passion, based on my strengths and weaknesses. At the time, I was still unsure of what direction I wanted to head in (or even the different kinds of roles Health Information Managers [HIMs] could be in!). Luckily, in my final year, I had the pleasure of completing a full block placement (11 weeks) at Family Safety Victoria, with a highly experienced HIM who helped pave the way for my future career.
My name is Dusty Ellen and I am a Health Information Manager (HIM) from Perth, Western Australia (WA). As a HIM, I have been educated in a broad range of topics throughout my university and career experiences. The variety of skills and knowledge I have attained enable my flexibility and ability to efficiently apply myself to complete a myriad of projects and has facilitated my capability to action changes within the workplace. My confidence in my abilities allows me to accept unfamiliar tasks, as I understand that I can apply my research and problem-solving skills, in order to accomplish organisational tasks.
Final year placement is an opportunity to build upon interpersonal and industry-specific skills, develop networks and advance your professional profile to the health information management world. You are required to develop your professional maturity, practice effective communication skills, and present unique thinking to achieve desirable outcomes. Final year placement is the culmination of your student life, where everything you have learnt in lectures and workshops comes to fruition in the workplace environment.
I am a postgraduate student in the Master of Advanced Health Service Management (majoring in health information management) at the University of Technology Sydney. I am also a mother with two school-aged children. Returning to university 15 years after graduating is a significant challenge for me. It is an extraordinary journey with difficulties and achievements.
Student practical placements, or work integrated learning experiences, are an important component of any degree as it is an opportunity for the student to assimilate the theory and knowledge they have gained during the degree in a workplace setting. It is also an opportunity for the student to practice and further develop their skills and knowledge in a safe environment, with the aim to ultimately produce work ready health information management graduates. Students have an opportunity to engage with Health Information Managers (HIMs) through placement activities including health information management tasks, work shadowing, projects and clinical classification, allowing the student to begin to develop their own HIM network.