From bedside to building

minute read
November 27, 2023
From bedside to building

As I was recuperating from my trip to attend Becker's 11th CEO + CFO roundtable, which, by the way, was a fantastic experience, where for the first time in my life I practiced pitching to nursing managers, participated in dinner with partners and guests and got a great exposure to U.S. healthcare problems in meaningful sessions. Now, I had a chance to pause for a moment of reflection. It has been a remarkable journey since my first day of nursing school, filled with late-night shifts, fast decisions, often difficult sights, and learning invaluable lessons of compassion. I felt a deep sense of fulfillment and gratitude for the path I had chosen, knowing that I had traveled a long path from bedside to Co-Founder. While reflecting on that, I decided to share it with the world, and maybe inspire and tell a story that will empower the nurses, showing one can contribute not only at the bedside but also in a world that is often perceived as “different”, to say the least.

In a world where technology continually shapes and reshapes our lives, one profession stands out as the epitome of human touch and empathy: nursing. Naturally, for some nurses, the world of the digital often seems too alien, as it is too much of a difference. One day you deal with humans and the other with computers - a significant difference. Yet, the story of a nurse turned hi-tech is a remarkable testament to the adaptability of the nursing profession and the opportunities it offers beyond the traditional clinical setting. Also, behind every piece of technology there are human beings who can benefit as its users (a thing to remember).

Myself, a registered nurse with 8 years of experience in a busy hospital and demanding setting (ICU) , embarked on a unique journey that saw  transition from taking care of patients  to dealing with data, releases, cycles of development, EHR integrations  product development.. and many more!  It is an example of how the skills and experiences gained in nursing can find a meaningful place in the hi-tech industry.

My journey into the hi-tech world was not a sudden leap but rather a gradual evolution. Nursing had been my calling, and I had dedicated my early career to caring for the sick and vulnerable. And man, did I love doing it! My experience in the hospital had taught me valuable skills such as multitasking, attention to detail, and effective communication, but at some point, I was ready for a change. Honestly, I was burned out, and wanted to at least try something new. Do not get mistaken! It took me almost a whole year to understand that I am even willing to consider any change. From the bedside, to first steps in the high-tech world, to building a start-up.

The catalyst for my transition into the hi-tech world was a chance encounter with a medical software startup. The company was developing cutting-edge software to improve patient care, and they were looking for someone with a good understanding of healthcare systems and the ability to bridge the gap between the medical and tech worlds. My background in nursing made me an ideal fit for the role, and I decided to give it a chance. The company that offered me my first (QA) position had in mind the idea that my clinical background will be useful while doing purely technical QA work. That was purely a technical position: working with developers, doing sanity tests, seeking software bugs and releasing working versions. Looking back, I actually never used my clinical skills during that time. But I was good at what I did, and it is a strong case for how versatile nurses can be.

Adaptation and lifelong learning

The transition was not without its challenges. I had to adapt to a new work environment, a fast-paced tech startup, which was really different from the controlled chaos of the hospital. I had to familiarize myself with software development and understand the complexity of the products I was working on. I was working with software engineers and data scientists, much different than my former colleagues in scrubs.

However, the skills I had gained as a nurse proved invaluable. My ability to analyze complex user-related scenarios, my ability for handling high-pressure situations, and my empathetic communication skills were assets in my new role. I quickly learned to speak the language of software development and bridge the gap between the tech and healthcare sectors.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my journey into the hi-tech world was the opportunity to contribute to the development of innovative solutions that had a direct impact on patient care. I worked on projects that aimed to streamline hospital workflows, reduce medication errors, and improve the overall quality of care. I remember that one time, when I received a confirmation that our software actually prevented a severe medical error, and potentially the life of a pregnant woman was saved! My work directly contributed to better patient outcomes, and this was a source of pride for me. After my first steps in the digital world, I knew perfectly well that even though I’m not participating in direct patient care, I want to spend my time (only) in healthcare IT companies.

One of the key lessons I learned on my  journey from nurse to hi-tech professional was the importance of lifelong learning. In the tech industry, change is constant, and staying updated with the latest developments is crucial. I attended industry conferences, completed a master’s degree and collaborated with my  tech-savvy colleagues to expand my knowledge and skill set.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who spent time teaching me. I will always feel thankful to all of you!

As of today, my journey in the digital world has entered its 10th year. So far, I’ve been in several different companies and I have to say it is indeed a bumpy ride. Hi-tech is a private and highly competitive business, I had companies closed on me more than once and sometimes it was really rough. It is a world of “high risk - high gain”. Today, I am a Co-Founder in an amazing startup, working on projects that aim to revolutionize the healthcare industry, especially aiming to help nurses to achieve better patient care and improve life-work balance by optimizing shift scheduling.  My experience gained during those 10 years and a blend of clinical experience has made me a person who can contribute to such business. I still carry the compassion and empathy I cultivated as a nurse, but now, I use them to make a difference on a broader scale.

My transition from nurse to hi-tech professional shows the versatility and adaptability of the nursing profession. I have a strong belief that my story can be a source of inspiration for nurses who are contemplating other career paths. Combining compassion and technology can lead to innovative solutions that benefit both patients and the entire healthcare industry. My story is a reminder that the skills acquired in one profession can find new life in unexpected places, and the future holds endless possibilities for those willing to embrace change.

Keep an eye out for future releases where I'll provide insights into the evolving healthcare landscape and the dynamic intersection of caregiving and entrepreneurship.

Written By

Sergey Vasilenko
Sergey Vasilenko
Sergey is a passionate care provider who spent 8 years as a neurosurgical CCRN treating patients in one of the most challenging environments and turned to technology to help nurses gain a better and safer working environment. Sergey is a Co-Founder and the CNO of In-House.

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