Redefining the Nursing Track
Stacy Conklin, a registered nurse and Director of Information Services at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, found herself asking a natural question: “Do I want to stay on the clinical side and eventually become a chief nurse?”
The top of the standard nursing career track felt limiting to her. And the thought of advancing on the technology side to what could become a Chief Information Officer position felt confining, as well. Her heart was in patient care — and what she loved about her technology work was not the technology, but the chance to make positive changes in the way patient care was delivered.
In the Master’s program at Dartmouth, Conklin was exposed to a wide range of thinking and experiences that intersected patient care and information technology: the importance of innovation; the skills of leadership and project management; the need for articulate communication. “The opportunity to attend the program,” she says, “opened my eyes to the possibility of going much further than I thought I could.” She acknowledges the need for understanding finance, but appreciates how the Dartmouth program has given her an awareness of a much bigger picture. “A lot of people in leadership positions are interested in MBAs,” she says. “But I think this is so much better than an MBA.”
Having completed the program, Conklin continues to report directly to the hospital’s CIO. Since coming back, though, she’s been given more latitude and autonomy to suggest changes and figure out ways to get them funded and implemented. She’s drawing on every part of her MHCDS experience — and is excited about becoming one of the key people driving change in the system. “What I’d really love is to take my IT team and make it an innovation team,” she says, clearly thinking about a bigger picture.