I came into Duquesne undecided and spent my first two years as such. Even after two years, HMS was not an obvious choice. I was interested in the health care field because I am a type 1 diabetic, so initially I was pulled to nursing because I interacted with them so much. But I had a serious interest in business and almost declared myself a finance major. In the end I chose HMS because it incorporated both health care and business. HMS offered me a chance to not only interact with patients, but help them on a much larger scale. This became clearer throughout my classes. Declaring HMS after my second year caused me to have to go to school for five years, but in the end I was able to graduate with a marketable degree and the knowledge to apply myself right away in the workforce.
During my time at Duquesne I took classes in HR, data management, finance, long term care, etymology of scientific terms, and elements of computer science, just to name a few. I found the value in these classes right away, especially in the health care field which is complex and rapidly changing. One of the courses I took as part of my HMS curriculum was basic programming in which I learned my first computer language. This class sparked my interest in IT and eventually lead to me minoring in information systems management.
I was extremely fortunate to work for three different companies my third, fourth, and fifth year. My third year I was a program aide for the Children's Institute in Pittsburgh where I was able to shadow the director of nursing. My fourth year I was an associate abstractor at Allegheny Health Network where I helped moved patient data from a paper medical record to an electronic health record in their transition to Epic's EMR (electronic medical record). The summer before my fifth year I worked in the data sciences and solutions department at Eli Lilly where I completed data reconciliation and created a budget reconciliation tool for the studies in my department. My fifth year I completed the mandatory HMS internship at UPMC where I shadowed the lead system analysts as UPMC transitioned a serious of behavioral health facilities to Epic's EMR.
When I graduated college I went right into the workforce as a consultant for Medasource. My first contract was with Hackensack Meridian Health as a systems analyst 2 for their extended care division. I was able to secure this role because I had experience with systems analysts at a reputable company, but more importantly because I took classes in long term care which taught me about home care and hospice. When my contract was up I was brought onto Hackensack Meridian Health full time as a system analyst 3. The education and experience I received at Duquesne has, without a doubt, granted me the opportunities I now have post-college. I would not be in the position I am today had it not been for those 5 years.