For Darci Sciulli, the choice of a college major and career was based on the practical.
“I went to college during the Great Recession, so my parents really stressed to me the importance of choosing a path that would allow me to start a career after graduation,” says Darci, who is from Cleveland, Ohio. She took a few aptitude tests as a senior in high school and learned that her personality was well suited for a “helping” career like nursing.
Earned a BSN
Darci earned a BSN from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 2012 and was hired into the Emergency Department of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
“I come from a big family and I was always babysitting and helping out the moms in the family and I was excited about my nursing career at Children’s Hospital,” Darci says. She loved the fast-paced environment and the opportunity to work with trauma and all other types of patients. “After two and a half years there, I transitioned to the child neurology department to gain experience in ambulatory patient care and have a more stable schedule. My role was like a patient coordinator position. It gave me great experience in pediatric neurology and outpatient clinic workflow experience.”
An opportunity to work in informatics
In 2016, Darci received an email about a new opening in clinical informatics at UPMC Children’s—and she was intrigued. “The job seemed to meet a lot of my criteria—mainly that I was ready to keep growing and learning and try something new,” she says. She accepted the position as informatics nurse that September and has stayed there since.
Returning to school always a thought
Darci says that returning to school for an MSN was always in the back of her mind. “Part of nursing is that you’re always evolving in the way you help people,” she says. “Technology in healthcare is important and I was excited about the new job I was doing to enhance patient quality and safety through technology. The job was the perfect blend of my interests.”
Her new role required her to earn certification in informatics nursing. “That got me into the mode of learning and studying again,” she says. She earned the Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC) in December 2018. While she had the momentum, Darci decided she should keep onward and roll right into an MSN Nursing Informatics program.
American Sentinel University
Darci discovered American Sentinel’s MSN Nursing Informatics program through online research online and her hospital later became an educational partner. She started the program in December 2018. When coronavirus cancelled all her summer plans, Darci doubled up on classes in order to fast-track her degree and finish by August 2020.
To move up as an informatics nurse at UPMC Children’s, the MSN is a requirement—so her timing was perfect. “I enjoy what I do a lot and want to be able have options and nurture my leadership skills to hopefully gain a management position in the future,” Darci says. “I wanted a strong foundational knowledge of nursing informatics and healthcare information technology, being that they are very complex areas.”
A great experience
Formal education is not easy for Darci, she admits, but American Sentinel’s philosophy of supporting students made things achievable. “Having that support from my student success advisor and the professors was really helpful,” she says. “It was definitely a highlight of the last 18 months, not to mention I really enjoyed learning with and from peers around the country through the discussion boards.”
As for the future, Darci wants to improve the lives of children and patients with special needs through health information technology. “I hope this degree allows me to advance in informatics nursing and achieve those bigger goals of making a tangible difference. Is a doctorate in her future? “It’s possible. I could see myself transitioning my education and experience one day into getting involved with professional organizations that influence the field of nursing. For now, I’m excited to explore where this degree takes me.”
Inspired by Darci’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, or infection control. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of these nursing fields. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.
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