Andrea Gramer enjoyed her work as an information systems technician in the U.S. Navy. Knowing that her friends and fellow service members were fighting overseas inspired her to pursue a new path.
“I wanted to become a nurse because I had friends fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that we’re getting hurt and I felt a need to do more than what I was doing in my computer job,” Gramer said. “I wanted to help in a greater capacity.”
Gramer was awarded a scholarship by the Navy and began her studies at Jacksonville University in 2009, graduating with her bachelor of science in nursing in 2012.
Health informatics was a natural career choice for Andrea Gramer. She’s a former information systems technician who earned her bachelor of science in nursing from Jacksonville University.
Gramer now is back at JU, albeit online instead of on campus, pursuing a master of science in health informatics.
It’s a logical move for Gramer, with her background in both informatics and healthcare. She’s frank about her reasons for pursuing her MSHI.
“I find the programs we use in the hospital frustrating, and I think we can do a better job of it,” Gramer said. “And if I’m being completely honest, I miss my computers, also.”
Her experience with JU made the school’s online program an easy choice as well.
“I know JU has a rigorous and rewarding curriculum, and an online program was my only option at this point,” Gramer said. “It worked out well that JU had the program I wanted and it was completely online.”
Gramer, now a lieutenant, currently is stationed at the Naval Hospital in Rota, Spain, which accounts for her biggest online learning challenge.
“The time difference is somewhat of a difficulty. Most live sessions are in the evening for those on Eastern Time, usually about 7:30 p.m., and that is 1:30 a.m. here in Spain,” Gramer said.
“The way I’ve dealt with that is setting an alarm for a few minutes before the class is supposed to start so I can log in and participate,” Gramer said.
It’s an adjustment Gramer is willing to make because of her high regard for JU academics.
“My overall experience as an online student at Jacksonville University has been overwhelmingly positive and I would recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in health informatics,” Gramer said.
Gramer is taking advantage of her post in Spain to explore Europe in her off time. She also loves to knit. “I make sweaters for myself and lots of winter accessories for my family and friends,” said Gramer, who hails from tiny Clawson, Mich.
“It’s two square miles,” she said.
Gramer is on track to graduate in September. “Following graduation, I hope to transfer from Spain and be stationed somewhere stateside where I can work in informatics for the military until I retire from service in 2022 after serving for 22 years,” she said.
Her advice for prospective students? Go for it.
“Take the leap,” she said. “It’s scary and overwhelming at first, but you get used to the online format, the professors are all helpful and available if you need them, and the sooner you start, the sooner you finish. You won’t regret it.”