JU MSHI Graduate Attributes Success to Self-Reliance, Perseverance
Jacksonville University graduate Candice Dixon has lived all over the world, from Berlin to Boston and other places in between, thanks to her father’s military career.
Every year, Dixon tries to master a new skill. Last year, she learned how to ride a motorcycle and received her endorsement to drive one – and wouldn’t mind owning one someday.
She graduated from JU in April 2018 with a 100% online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree to help further her career as a healthcare analyst, where her duties include evaluating contract data, maintaining current and historical data and collaborating with various internal departments and vendors.
“I chose to pursue an MSHI degree to expound upon my knowledge on health information management, analytics and learning how they relate,” Dixon said. “JU’s online Health Informatics program offered the flexibility needed to transition back to school after taking a long hiatus in 2005.”
Dixon views Health Informatics as “essential” to the healthcare industry, due to disconnects among providers, provider groups, health insurers and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
“Data collected and analyzed will help the following: electronic health records/electronic medical records, cost savings and improve wellness,” Dixon said.
All those aspects will allow for easy and safe patient record management and retrieval, a decrease and potential elimination of medical errors and adverse events – saving insurers and patients money and will grant patients the ability to self-manage illness and disease, according to Dixon.
After graduating, Dixon plans to take a vacation and finish some unread novels, as well as become a subject matter expert applying various concepts and generating techniques learned within the program to apply them to her current and future positions.
She has already seen benefits to her career by earning her degree.
“My degree has helped me transform valuable data collected from various areas into applied information to drive decision making and eliminating clutter to improve services with data supporting my argument,” Dixon said.
Dixon found that being an online student brought some challenges, such as time management and the need to plan.
“Being an online student requires discipline and structure. I learned early on the importance of being prepared in advance to allow me to process information, take notes, find a buddy and stick to my schedule,” Dixon said.
During her graduate studies, she didn’t have a support system – instead, she relied on herself.
“It was sheer self-determination and perseverance that helped me focus on the long-term goal (graduation) vs. short-term goals (countless hours spent writing papers, reading and researching various topics). And my online cohorts, especially Jennifer Holland,” Dixon said.
She also used her professors whenever she needed help and said that Dr. Arif Rana and Dr. Roberta Christopher stood out to her.
“These professors did not hesitate to lend a helping hand at what may have seemed the most inopportune time of day, answering calls or texts on the weekend, or creating quick study sessions to ensure we understood the topic and the required assignment,” Dixon said. “My overall experience has been a positive one. The professors definitely pushed me farther than I thought I could on my own and definitely helped me challenge myself.”
Her advice to prospective students is to establish a good work-life balance.
“By doing so, give yourself a reasonable amount of work with sufficient time to read and process information,” Dixon said. “Life is not a race; no path is the same and it’s OK if it takes you longer to get to the finish line as long as you complete the race.”
Click here for more information on JU’s 100% online MSHI program.