Since its founding in 2010, much has changed here at Nordic. Our roots in staff augmentation were what got us off the ground, but we have since evolved into providing our partners with solutions that stretch the gamut of healthcare IT, from revenue cycle transformation to training solutions to managed services. With the expansion of our services has come the exciting growth of our home office to support our consultants, with three office moves in the span of 10 years due to outgrowing our space. We’ve expanded from one consultant, located here in the Midwest, to a tribe of more than 850 expert consultants working and living across the continent. Over the course of 10 years, we’ve had many outstanding people join the team, and through it all, Nordic’s very first consultant, Neal Clark, has stuck by our side. We recently caught up with Neal and asked him about his journey at Nordic and why he continues to bleed Team Green.
Before joining Nordic in 2010, Neal worked at Epic from 2005-2007 in Implementation Services specializing in OpTime.
What brought you to Nordic in 2010?
Neal: I happened to know the founders from my time at Epic, and as they were starting the company, they were reaching out to people they knew to join them. Nordic was super small and very selective about who they were bringing on. Since the founders had direct Epic knowledge, they knew what consultants were looking for in a firm in terms of the level of support and the transparency in pay. They wanted consultants that were happy and were compensated well for their expertise. Everything they were telling me was so appealing that I jumped on board.
What were those early days at Nordic like?
Neal: It was definitely interesting. Like any startup, it was really small and didn’t have a lot of organization. Nordic was mainly an idea. The name Nordic actually didn’t even exist yet. Some of the infrastructure that we have now – payroll, benefits, how to get contracts set up – wasn’t there either. It was very informal, but it was fun and loose. We all shared the vision of the company even if the formality wasn’t there. I knew that they would figure out all the backend logistics and let me focus on the client and building the relationship with them, so that was really great.
My first project was pretty wild. It was with a hospital in Minneapolis, and I was hired to be an OpTime analyst. Three weeks into the contract, the client’s OpTime lead decided to leave and they asked me to take their place. We really wanted to make the client happy, so we were flexible in my role. To keep the project pushing forward, I spent about six months as half analyst, half project manager. As a team lead, there were a lot of things that I didn’t have direct experience in, but the team at Nordic mentored and supported me so that we could finish the project successfully, which we did.
From those early days, how have you seen Nordic change over the last 10 years?
Neal: The company has obviously grown quite a bit since then, so instead of working directly with the founders, I now work with a great Practice Manager who offers me the support I’m needing at this point in my career. The infrastructure itself is more formalized, which makes everything a lot easier. I’ve done a lot of OpTime analyst work in my tenure, but because Nordic has been very forward-thinking with evolving their business lines, I’ve been able to dabble in other areas, such as Managed Services.
How has the role of a consultant changed over the last 10 years?
Neal: In the early days, there were a lot of clients that were just going up on software. They were staffing teams that didn’t have a lot of Epic knowledge, so as the resident Epic expert, you’d get some quick wins. Now clients have really strong, knowledgeable teams, so there’s a larger focus on more high-level issues. To provide value to them, you need to have a very deep and broad knowledge, as the bar is set higher from the get-go. The issues are more complex, more challenging, so those quick wins aren’t as easily attainable.
You’ve worked in healthcare for 15 years, what do you enjoy about your role?
Neal: I love the software we work on. It’s really fun to build and see those instant results. I’m currently working on a Managed Services contract, and I’m interacting a lot with the operations staff. It’s been really enjoyable to build relationships with the client, as they’re the ones directly interacting with the patients. Being able to support them and help them do their job better is extremely rewarding.
After all these years, why have you continued to stick with Nordic?
Neal: Honestly, it’s been really easy to stay with Nordic. Ten years ago, I was single and open to any type of contract anywhere in the country. Now that I have a young family, my priorities have certainly shifted, and limited travel is really ideal for me. Nordic continues to listen to my changing needs and find me work that I find both challenging and close to home.
After being with Nordic for so long, my interactions with the home office are not as frequent as they once were, but I know that there is always someone available to talk if I need to, which I find reassuring. The quality of Nordic’s consultants remains very high, and overall the relationships that Nordic has built in the industry makes them highly respected.
Do you have any advice for consultants who are just joining Nordic?
Neal: Drink the Nordic Kool-Aid from Day 1. All joking aside, buy into the culture and the maxims as Nordic really does live by them. When it comes to working with the customers, make their needs a priority. Really listen to them, don’t just come in and start giving advice right away. The customer needs help, but they don’t always know exactly what they need until they dive in deeper, so being flexible is also really important.
We are grateful for each of our consultants, both past and present, for being an important part of Nordic’s story. If you would like to learn more about a meaningful role in healthcare with a broad scope of opportunities and with a partner who values your unique skillset, please contact us or check out our current openings.