Class of 2019

Candice Halinski, MSN, NP-C, MHCDS

Director, Service Line, Clinical Division of Nephrology
Northwell Health

Leaders and administrators have the capacity to improve health care for populations through the application of theories, principles, and best practices.The realization that I could transform my career away from the bedside while still caring for patients led me to apply to the MHCDS program. I knew that the world class education offered through the Dartmouth program would give me the fundamental tools I needed to promote, support, and lead change in the delivery of health care.

Candice, tell us about your professional experience.

As the clinical director of the nephrology service line at Northwell Health, I am responsible for the oversight and direction of nursing and clinical staff.  In addition, I function as one of the clinical leads on an innovative care management program that works to transition late stage CKD patients to renal replacement therapies, transplant, or conservative care through shared decision-making.

Why did you decide to continue your education at this stage in your career?

In 1997 I graduated a diploma program to become a licensed practical nurse. At that time, I remember thinking I was “done” with continued education because I was a nurse; but something changed once I got to be around the patients. I was humbled by their experiences and honored to be a part of some very intimate and personal moments in the patient’s life. This fed a deep desire to learn more and both my “Educational Career” and  “Nursing Career” grew. I transitioned from EMT, to LPN, to Advanced EMT, to RN, to nursing supervisor, to nurse practitioner, and clinical director all while continuing to pursue higher education. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have mentors who believed in my leadership capabilities, even when I did not always see these strengths. This proved to be most true when the executive director and chief of my division encouraged me to apply to the program.

How have you used the skills and knowledge you have gained through your coursework in the real world?

There is so much to say here, but courses such as strategy, finance, leadership, and the action learning project have taught me the value of careful analysis and the effective utilization of information and data to leverage key stakeholders and influence change. It has even helped me to think more broadly about where I gain my information, how to analyze my information, and what tools may be most effective in a specific situation. Now I think about things on a more global level and reference material that supports this (Who knew the Dartmouth Atlas was so rich!?). In addition, interactive examples, as utilized in operations, make theory easy to apply in everyday settings. I approach things on a systems level to analyze small theories of change and think about how this will affect the entire team. The leadership profile is particularly insightful and the 360-degree feedback is an important foundation for evolving as a healthcare innovator and leader.

What would you tell a friend or colleague who was considering the MHCDS program?

When I first arrived at Dartmouth, I suffered from "imposter syndrome." I thought, "How did I get here when all these other talented people are in the room?" I looked at all the titles and credentials and it felt daunting to me. Then, it clicked; after a few months, I knew I belonged here. These are my peers and they are all passionate about leading change for the better. Don’t worry about titles, names, credentials, and experiences. All of your classmates will embrace you. We learn from each other. You will find your strengths through MHCDS. As a wise professor will tell you, "Go with the flow." Enjoy the ride and NEVER stop learning.

The engagement level and camaraderie with your peers and professors are astounding. They all contribute selflessly to your individual success. They humble and inspire me and we learn from each other. Not a day goes by in my professional career and in the program where I don’t learn something."