Degree: MSN, nursing informatics and e-health specialization

Current Position: Senior clinical informatics analyst with Sanford Health

Ashley Herrity leans on a counter in front of a University of South Dakota Department of Nursing sign.When people ask what Herrity and her team do at Sanford Health, she explains it this way.

"We are a bridge between end users and our IT department," Herrity said. "We are the people in the middle who help design the medical record and then help the end users understand how to integrate it into their workflows."

Herrity held an associate degree in nursing from USD when she took the position as senior clinical informatics analyst in 2013, a position which was "master's preferred.” Encouraged by her employer to pursue additional education, she completed USD's RN to BSN program in 2017.

"I knew I wanted to get my master's degree at some point but I didn't know when that would be," she says. "Then I ran across an invitation to an information session about this new master's program for nurses at USD."

Although she had first considered a master's degree in leadership, USD's MSN in nursing informatics and e-health specialization turned out to be an even better fit, not least because she could do it online and alongside her full-time job. Herrity says her choice of this program was less about advancement or income and more about equipping herself for the future.

"We have lots of things happening at Sanford with the new virtual hospital and I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities for nurses," she said. "I just want to be ready for any opportunity that might come about."


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