Judy Langiano knew education was critical to success as a nurse.
That’s why, after getting her three-year RN diploma, she immediately went on to earn a BSN in 1981. She then began her career in nursing, working in many settings from home care to medical surgery to hospice to oncology.
In the early 2000s, she discovered a new interest: informatics.
Learning From the Ground Up
“Ten years ago, the organization I was working with was still paper charting,” says Langiano. “We were just starting to transition to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). We still had nurses who had never used a computer. They didn’t know what a mouse was. I was fascinated with the whole process, and I was able to help with the transition from paper to EMR. I really enjoyed it.”
Langiano had the opportunity to revisit the whole process when her organization changed vendors two years ago. “I could see how the old system worked versus the benefits of the new system,” she says. “I talk ‘nurse’ so I could explain to the other nurses why this big change would benefit them.”
Facing the Challenge of the Next Academic Level
Learning about the ins and outs of informatics—along with helping train other nurses—sparked Langiano’s interest in pursuing more education. She wasn’t sure whether her end goal would be to move into a teaching role or management. What she knew for certain, however, was that taking the leap to the master’s was intimidating. Other than obtaining CE credits, she hadn’t been in a formal academic setting for decades.
“I did a lot of research, a lot of research on MSN programs,” Langiano says. “I was very nervous and really careful about the process. Capella had everything I wanted, including the ability to gain certifications from my education.” She was also attracted to the Nursing Informatics specialization, since she had found her on-the-job training in technology to be interesting and rewarding.
Overcoming Fears and Diving In
In spite of her fears, she began her MSN program in 2015. “I found the best thing was just to dive in and start,” she explains. “Right away I could see that the feedback I got was valuable. I really enjoyed the camaraderie in the class discussions. There were people from all over the country, and that provided all of us with different experiences and viewpoints. There were often things discussed that someone hadn’t heard of or considered before.”
Any concerns she had about earning a degree online were relieved by the support she received throughout the process. “Support was paramount to me,” she says. “From the required introductory class, to the tutoring, to the 24/7 tech support, the help was always there. I used that tech support on Easter Sunday one year. Because of my work schedule, I had to do my homework on weekends, so losing a Sunday would have been terrible. Support was there to help solve the problem and get me going again.”
When asked if she’d recommend Capella to other prospective students, she laughs and says, “I brag about it all the time at work. They’re sick of me talking it up!”
An Eye to the Future
Langiano plans to complete her MSN program in mid-2018, and believes it will benefit her in her current role as a clinical nurse manager assisting the official nurse informaticist. “What I’ve learned about how to gather data and what to do with it is huge,” she says. “But there’s more, too. I’ve learned how to put teams together, how to determine what the team should do, how to delegate, who should delegate—any leader needs to know these things, so having that academic piece is invaluable.”
While her current role is a good one and allows her to use what she’s been learning in her daily work life, she has some other long-term goals as well.
“I’m not sure yet, but I’ve been thinking of moving into The Joint Commission,” she says. “A master’s is required, so I couldn’t even consider it without this degree.”
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