Cyndi Szymanski started her career in information technology in the health care industry in the 1980s—at a time when computers were a novel tool used by only a few industries and electronic medical records weren’t even a consideration for health care organizations. “I basically started in the data center of a local hospital, and I really enjoyed it a lot,” says Cyndi, a Chicago native. Eventually Cyndi transitioned from networking and data management to the application side of IT.
From 1991 to 2007, Cyndi worked for Advocate Health Care, the largest integrated health system in Illinois and one of the nation’s top 10 systems. She worked her way up to field senior analyst. Although she had built a great resume and gained excellent experience, a bachelor’s degree was becoming a must-have. So, in 2006, Cyndi returned to school to earn a degree in information technology and project management from American Intercontinental University—an entirely online program. Her timing was right, too. In 2007, her company laid off most of her department.
A Big Move
After consulting for a while—training nurses, physicians and other patient care professionals on a commonly used order entry system—Cyndi relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2010. She joined IASIS Healthcare as a clinical application support administrator, a job in which she designs and implements operational and technical support for clinical applications and is currently busy upgrading all IASIS facilities’ systems. “I build, I implement, I travel to support our various locations, and I really enjoy the people I work with,” says Cyndi.
Furthering Her Education
Two years into her new job, Cyndi decided the time was right to return to college. “I knew there was so much more to health informatics and I’m a person who loves learning,” she says. When IASIS’s CEO sent out an email that one of its educational partners, American Sentinel University, was offering five full-ride scholarships for its Master of Health Care Informatics (MHCI), Cyndi jumped at the chance to apply. To her surprise, she was awarded one of the scholarships. “It was so exciting. I think what made me stand out is that I’ve been in this field for 25 years and I’m looking toward the future of health care and my place in it. I really love my job, and I’m an independent, self-motivated person.”
Focused on the Health Care of Tomorrow
Cyndi started the MHCI program in March 2013 and immediately found the curriculum applicable to her job. “I think it is a very up-to-date, very rigorous program,” she says. And though she has deep experience in the field, Cyndi admits that her education will make her a more valuable employee moving forward. “Health care changes by the week. To further my career, more education is important. American Sentinel has done an excellent job of keeping this program current with what’s happening in health care today. I’m enjoying the program more than I ever anticipated.”