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Behind the Scenes: Q&A with Ambra Health Consultant, Nathaniel Smith

A recent interview between Rebecca Schankerman, Ambra Health Field Marketing Coordinator, and Nathaniel Smith, Ambra Health Consultant. Nathaniel talks about why he wanted to move into the healthcare industry, shares tidbits about working with larger health systems, and why a remote work environment works for his lifestyle. 

Rebecca: Can you talk about your past experiences and what led you to Ambra?

Nathaniel

Nathaniel: I was a Computer Science major at the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!), and the summer after my junior year I was doing an embedded development internship for a startup in Chicago. The company basically monitors how often hospital staff are washing their hands – very cool. From that internship, I learned that I wanted to work in healthcare, but I really didn’t want to be a developer. After I graduated, I ended up working at OpenTable for a year and was doing support for them. I realized I was decent at talking on the phone with people and working with a large group of different people in a small set of time. I wanted to work in healthcare and use my technical skills, so my friend from Madison actually connected me to Andrew Frank, a Manager on the Professional Services team at Ambra. We found out that the position I applied for was going to be a good fit. I liked the balance of the technicalities and working with a diverse group of people (radiologists, surgeons, IT staff, practice managers). You really do work with everyone and everything here!

Rebecca: What does a typical day look like for you at Ambra? Any exciting tidbits you can share?

Nathaniel: In the last year I’ve switched from managing mostly small, 1-3 physician practices, to managing the implementation of much larger enterprise hospitals. I’m now spending a lot more energy on a smaller amount of projects compared to less energy on a lot of projects. Most of the work with enterprise hospitals is surrounding their EMR, which happens to be Epic a lot of times. At this point, I’ve mostly been working on Epic integrations and scalable teleradiology workflows for the last couple of months.

I found the switch to enterprise projects to be really exciting because Epic is a big name that I have been hearing about for a while. A fun fact, Madison, Wisconsin (where I went to school) is the home to one of the largest Epic campuses in the United States. I’ve been hearing about their work and their impact for quite some time, so it’s very rewarding to be working with the big dogs!

Rebecca: If you could describe your job in 3 words, what would they be and why?

Nathaniel: Implement, learn, and improvise. The main part of my job is to implement, and if I were to choose one word then implementation would be the one. I always need to learn how our product is changing and finding out what our customers want and figuring out that hybrid. A lot of the time what we are building doesn’t line up with what the customer thinks they want, so I need to improvise. In my position, it is extremely important to learn how to act on your feet and keep the project moving while using the resources you have available to keep the customer successful.

Rebecca: How has it been seeing the Professional Services and Support teams grow throughout your time at Ambra?

Nathaniel: It’s been interesting because it’s not necessarily Professional Services (PS) that has grown, but also Customer Success (CS) has grown. I feel like Professional Services has grown linearly, whereas Customer Success has grown exponentially. Chantel and Kate are killing it on CS; I am really lucky to have them as coworkers. Customer Success has caught up with PS in terms of workload and that’s really nice because I feel like my responsibilities and role are clearer than when I started. I primarily focus my time and energy on implementation as opposed to customer retention and I like that a lot more – it’s my strong suit! In the last 3 years, there has been growth on all teams at Ambra, and it has been really exciting to watch. I feel like everyone is benefiting from the gained clarity in our roles and responsibilities.

Rebecca: With your specific position, was it easy to transfer to a remote work environment when COVID-19 started?

Nathaniel: I love working from home! I am a bit of a social butterfly and sometimes I would get a little too chatty in the office (Hi, Gab). It’s not my fault I have awesome coworkers! If it was my way, I would only be in the office 25% of the time. I have found that I do my best work when I’m working from home and am able to focus and take breaks that work best with my schedule. I enjoy the flexibility to step away as needed and go for a walk or jog. Sometimes, I even set up my stationary bike for internal meetings that I am not leading. I still am meeting up with my manager for monthly walks which is a great way to stay connected with my team.

Rebecca: The Ambra Health team is currently working remotely. Where are you working from at the moment?

Nathaniel: My apartment in Denver, CO! I was lucky because I was already working from home about twice a week prior to COVID so I had everything set up. I have a great view of the skyline and the mountains from my desk which I love! I do not love my warped walls or lead paint though.

Rebecca: Any final words you would like to add about working for Ambra?

Nathaniel: As someone who gets bored very easily, I really like working at Ambra. I know what it’s like to simply go through the motions and have meaningless contributions; I am absolutely never going back to that again. I love how each day I am surprised not only with what our product can do but also I am surprised with how much I am capable of doing. Much love to my manager, Erin McGee, Professional Services and the Denver office!

Born in Boston, raised in New York, and educated in Madison, Nathaniel prides himself on the unique perspectives and distinctive energy he brings to Ambra Health, the Denver office, and the Professional Services team. Nathaniel entered the Ambra world as a Professional Services Analyst and has quickly and effectively climbed the ranks to the Consultant position. In his free time, he enjoys playing outside, listening to Phish, working on his Spanish, and reading – non-fiction in the morning and fiction at night!

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About Rebecca Schankerman

Rebecca Schankerman is an alumna of Indiana University with an honors degree in Management and Marketing. Rebecca has a strong passion for marketing and how it plays a role within the healthcare industry. As Ambra’s Field Marketing Coordinator, Rebecca handles all aspects of the events Ambra attends within the medical imaging and informatics fields. When she’s not planning the latest Ambra conference or trade show, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

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