Alumni Spotlight – Finding Career Success with a Health Informatics Degree

Patrick Wende, M.S., explains how the Master’s in Health Informatics supports his career path

We talked to Patrick about his experience in the Health Informatics program, his new position, and the future of the health informatics field.

Tell us about yourself and how you decided to pursue a Master of Science in Health Informatics at The University of Scranton.

My name is Patrick Wende and am originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I attended The University of Scranton as an undergraduate, studying exercise science and sports. While I found that field fascinating, it wasn’t the career field I was looking for.

By chance, I landed in a role at a local hospital teaching professionals how to use electronic health record software, and found that the health informatics field was the field for me. After being in health informatics for some time, I decided to pursue a graduate degree and chose to return to The University of Scranton. My choice was largely due to the history I had with the school, and my knowledge of the quality of education I would get—notwithstanding it being a brand new degree program.

How did the program fit into your job?

Throughout the program I worked at Geisinger, a local health system, managing their trauma registry. Though very data- and writing-intensive, this position allowed me to interact with clinical and administrative professionals to understand where health technology fit into their workflow and the changing landscape of health care.

One course, healthcare policy management, impacted my work immediately. While it was taught mostly using the government as an example, the principles were very easily translatable to the private organizational healthcare structure as well. The course explored how the policy process functions when considering the need for political momentum and effective change management. Combined with my experience in interacting with administrators, this knowledge completely changed my perception of the field.

Working with these administrators helped me better understand why processes and policies I’ve experienced in the past have or have not worked. The overall impact of the ways process and policy are enacted, changed and managed was a major eye-opener for me, and I’ll be using that information forever.

How did you balance your data- and writing-intensive job with your coursework?

It was a challenge, no doubt. I was fortunate to have a supervisor at my job that was very understanding of the challenges that I would be undergoing as a student and a full-time professional, and she was flexible with me.

I know that’s something not every student will have. It certainly is a challenge to maintain 40-plus hours of work per week and the student workload, but you just have to develop a new routine. You prioritize your time in such a way that you can complete your work and school work while still having time for yourself.

Scranton’s course structure made it much easier to build this routine. The workload is laid out by week, so you aren’t overburdened with a mass amount of work to do all at once.

What project did you do for your capstone course?

My capstone project took me to a wide variety of facilities in the Geisinger system to compare and analyze how the same process worked at four different hospitals. My job was to document the differences between them, their strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for process standardization across the hospitals.

I had to learn to work with each stakeholder group impacted by the process; otherwise, I’d have only bits and pieces of the information vital to understanding the process as a whole.

There were so many moving parts, regardless of location, that it required me to confirm information at various levels. That aspect was astonishing in and of itself—realizing just how many layers of personnel you need to explore to effectively document a process.

How does technology fit into health informatics?

The field is growing more technical. Informaticists—a common health informatics title—work as the intermediary between clinical and technical personnel. When I was looking for new professional opportunities, many informaticist positions required a solid technical base and were seeking candidates who weren’t afraid of learning new technologies.

Essentially, if you’re interested in pursuing this field, you need to be willing to embrace the idea of new and developing technology.

In my current role, I will be able to use many of the skills the program teaches that are geared toward informaticists—again, that link between the clinical and technical. But, if you were to draw a spectrum with technical on one end and clinical on the other, you wouldn’t be able to place the informaticist right in the middle. They would be more toward the technical end of the spectrum. At least that’s what I’ve experienced in my role, and I think that goes for the majority of informaticist positions as well.

Do you need a technical background for Scranton’s program?

You don’t need to be very technical to get through the program, but as the field skews more toward the technical side, the curriculum is sure to follow. Scranton’s program introduces technical topics in early courses and gives students a base from which to gain job-specific skills.

I get a lot of built-in education at my current job, especially as I’m learning the specific software that we use. The degree prepares you to enter the workforce, you just have to know that part of being an informaticist is learning how technology fits into your specific position.

Finally, do you have any advice for prospective students?

The health care field is very interesting and has a wide range of opportunities, offers, and room for a diverse workforce. Students should take any opportunities to speak to or shadow people in the field to make sure that it’s the field they want to be in because it’s so unique.

 

The University of Scranton’s Master of Science in Health Informatics program is at the cutting edge of this emerging field.

5 Tips To Create A Stellar Resume

Writing a great resume is a balancing act. You need to outline your portfolio with professional keywords in your field, but also stand out from the pack. In addition, you need to strike a balance between presenting brief career highlights for recruiters who view resumes at a high-level while describing a greater depth of your experience for hiring managers who are taking a deeper dive.

1. Select the right format

Choosing the right format for your resume depends on your industry or profession. Careers like banking, finance, and law are considered traditional, while positions in advertising, fashion, art, and innovative technologies are more creative. Many fields are somewhere in between.

As a rule of thumb, standard resume formats are expected in traditional fields. On the other hand, job seekers in creative fields have used innovative new formats including video, websites, social media tools, and even handmade books and artifacts to craft successful resumes.

2. Customize your resume

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 61 percent of employers prefer a resume that is customized to an open position.2 CareerBuilder also found that 48 percent of employers spend less than two minutes reading a resume.

That means you should prepare a separate resume for each job that you apply to, preferably using bullet points and highlighting your most relevant skills and experience.

3. Select a suitable length

Most of the time, one page is best because you generally are writing for busy recruiters. But occasionally, two pages may win you the job, especially for hiring managers looking for a range of experience, according to specialists convened by Monster.com.3

Whatever you do, choose your words carefully so that you are not featuring outdated or irrelevant skills.

4. Be selective with word choice

Here’s a warning to resume writers: avoid clichés and outdated expressions. Hiring managers and recruiters in a recent survey by CareerBuilder ranked these as words as the most offensive:4

  • Best of breed
  • Go-getter
  • Think outside the box
  • Synergy
  • Go-to person

The hiring executives also gave examples of words they would like to see on resumes, including:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained/ mentored
  • Managed
  • Created

5. Avoid formatting mistakes

These days, resumes are often scanned by machines to determine if you have the relevant requirements. Make your resume “machine-readable” by keeping it to a standard font, without special features such as italics or underlining.5

Many employers also advise having text only and no images or graphics.6

With these tips and a mention of your higher education, you could achieve your goals and land the job you have been waiting for!

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Sources:

1Fortune.com. Congrats, MBA Grads. http://fortune.com/2015/05/19/mba-graduates-starting-salary/

2CareerBuilder.com. Employers Reveal Biggest Resume Blunders in Annual Survey. http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?ed=12%2F31%2F2015&id=pr909&sd=8%2F13%2F2015

3Monster.com. The one-page resume vs. the two-page resume. http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/one-page-or-two-page-resume

4CareerBuilder.com. Hiring managers rank best and worst words on a resume in a recent CareerBuilder survey. http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr809&sd=3/13/2014&ed=03/13/2014

5Dummies.com. How to create a scannable resume. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-create-a-scannable-resume.html

6CBSMoneyWatch: 10 resume errors that will land you in the trash. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/10-resume-errors-that-will-land-you-in-the-trash/

DBA Program Research Award Presented 

At The University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management Annual Accounting Dinner on May 3, 2018, Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) student Marcus Burke received the first ever Dr. Douglas M. Boyle DBA Outstanding Research Award recognizing his exceptional research efforts with University of Scranton Accounting faculty. Burke, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Old Dominion University and Master’s degree in Management from Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMUC), began pursuing his DBA at The University of Scranton in August 2017 as a member of the program’s flagship cohort. Prior to returning for his terminal degree, Burke gained professional experience at CMA CGM (America) LLC as a Database Administrator and Web Application Developer before being promoted to a Business Architect, TAMUC as a Senior Web Developer, and TAMUC and Marist College as an adjunct faculty member teaching in the areas of Accounting Information Systems, Systems Analysis and Design, Data Information and Management, and Enterprise Resource Planning.

During his first year in the DBA program, Burke completed and submitted a research article with Drs. Douglas M. Boyle and Daniel P. Mahoney to Management Accounting Quarterly entitled “Goodwill Accounting: The Matter of Serial Non-Impairment.” This research uses thirteen years of archival data covering 1,646 firms from Compustat and Thompson ONE to examine the number of firm acquisitions and their respective goodwill impairment rates to determine the existence of notable trends related to the non-impairment of goodwill among firms with high business combination rates. 

Burke has also co-authored a case with Drs. Megan Burke and Sandra Gates entitled “To Amend or Not to Amend: A Tax Consulting Case” which appears in the Journal of Accounting Education (2017). Currently, he is working with Dr. Megan Burke on research related to managerial ability and its relation to a firm’s tax posture, and with Drs. Sandra Gates and Megan Burke on an article for the Accounting History Review on Benjamin Montgomery and the role of slavery on the development of American accounting. 

When asked about his experience with being part of The University of Scranton’s DBA Program, Burke stated, “During my time in the DBA program, I have interacted with the professors in a variety of settings, both inside and outside the classroom. Within that time, and during those interactions, I have been consistently and thoroughly impressed with their enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment to academic excellence. The life-lessons and knowledge conveyed within the classroom are uniquely targeted to help guide and propel students toward future success. As program director, Dr. Douglas M. Boyle makes a noticeable and concerted effort to bring in individuals from both the academy and the professional world to establish a high level of knowledge transference and create relationship building between his students and the global community.” 

Burke, originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, currently lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, with his wife, Megan, an accounting professor a Marist College, and his two children, Justin and Evelyn. He continues to enjoy playing music and playing taxi driver for his children’s extracurricular activities. 

“As program director, Dr. Douglas M. Boyle makes a noticeable and concerted effort to bring in individuals from both the academy and the professional world to establish a high level of knowledge transference and create relationship building between his students and the global community.”

To learn more about the DBA program at The University of Scranton, click here.

Dream Big, then Dream Even Bigger

Are you ready for an international career?

In a world where international business continues to grow at a rapid pace, working abroad is becoming a more common opportunity. For both professionals whose careers are still in the early stages and those who are at midpoint or beyond, working internationally can be beneficial. Studies show professionals who work overseas tend to advance more quickly than those who remain in the U.S.Of course, preparing yourself to work outside the U.S. requires more than a current passport and updated vaccinations. Different cultures and regions may have different expectations. So, it’s important to thoroughly research such things as work hours and work weeks to make sure a move would be a good fit for you.

You should also consider what kind of customs and business culture is prevalent in other countries. Some countries, such as Germany, expect and encourage assertiveness from their leaders; in others, like Mexico, it is more common to develop a personal relationship before conducting business. Knowing that your work or management style fits the culture is vital to laying the groundwork for a successful overseas career.

Know thyself

While working in another country can sound exciting and exotic, it can also be isolating. That’s why it’s important to understand your own personal needs, such as whether you are able to spend time alone or adapt to a completely new social setting. Experts say someone who is outgoing and extroverted is more likely to thrive in a different culture than someone who is introverted and may have trouble striking up relationships with others.

It’s also important for you to be able to get along well with many different personality types and to “roll with the punches.” Since you will likely encounter many unexpected situations both living and working in a different country, it’s important for you to be able to adapt well to change. Evaluate your strengths, likes and dislikes carefully and honestly, and study the area where you’re interested in working to make certain it is a good fit both personally and professionally.

You will also want to think about how a move would affect the important relationships in your life. Although it’s easier than ever to communicate with loved ones regardless of where they are, living abroad changes the nature of the relationship. How well will you do living far away? If you have a family, how will a move affect them? Regardless of whether they are moving with you or will stay in the U.S., a move would affect everyone and needs to be carefully studied, thought out and discussed.

It’s fairly easy to look at the advantages of working overseas, but make sure you take time to look at the disadvantages, too, to see if they offset your desire to make a move. It’s better to continue working in the U.S. if you don’t feel you’re prepared for a move overseas or if you have concerns about some of the cultural practices.

Preparation is key to succeeding overseas. Without proper planning and a thorough evaluation of the situation, the move could prove disastrous. Improve your odds of success by learning as much as you can about the country, the position, and the expectations that go with it. Then make an educated decision that’s best for you.

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Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/11/04/foreign-overseas-jobs-leadership-careers-human-capital-2-10-employment.html

http://www.careercast.com/career-news/are-you-suited-overseas-assignment

http://www.ytravelblog.com/9-ways-prepare-protect-working-abroad/

An MBA Is the New Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree is commendable, and increasingly important in the workplace. But those trying to stand out as an employee or job applicant should consider attaining an even higher level of education. Many employers want to see a master’s degree, and it may be in your financial interest to get one.

According to a Washington Post report, those with a master’s degree can expect to earn $457,000 more over the course of their career than those with just a bachelor’s degree. Also the number of jobs that require a master’s degree are projected to increase at a much higher rate than other jobs, through 2020.1

A master’s degree today is as prevalent as a bachelor’s degree was in the 1960s, according to Vox, which also said that a master’s degree in business administration is growing faster than other master level degrees.2 In 1971, 11.2% of all master’s degrees were in business. By 2012, that percentage more than doubled to 25.4%.

A Practical Degree

An MBA is useful in fields as diverse as accounting, healthcare, manufacturing, information systems, logistics, telecommunications, retail, finance and banking, law, consulting, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, insurance, and engineering. The degree is increasingly important in business today.

Today, with modern technology, it’s easier  than ever for aspiring students to get a quality MBA degree!

The MBA  is used as a screening tool by employers to find the most qualified candidates with the advanced education necessary for the job. Showing a willingness to invest time and money to get additional education signals to the hiring manager that the candidate is serious about their career.

The University of Scranton’s MBA program offers both  broad-based study in all aspects of business, or a focus in a specialized area such as accounting, operations management, healthcare management, human resources, international business or enterprise resource planning.

The Payoff

According to data from head hunter Career Bliss,3 those with master’s degrees usually earn more than those with bachelor’s degrees. For instance, a business manager earns on average 22% more with the advanced degree than with a bachelor’s degree.

For more information on how an MBA can help you, check out The University of Scranton’s MBA Program.

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Sources:

1http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/brand-connect/wp/2014/03/14/overall-trends/
2http://www.vox.com/2014/5/20/5734816/masters-degrees-are-as-common-now-as-bachelors-degrees-were-in-the-60s
3http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110817006495/en/CareerBliss-Data-Reveals-Top-10-Jobs-Master%E2%80%99s