Berni Doyle comes from a long line of nurses, so it’s no wonder that the Illinois native went on to become one herself. “I graduated from an LPN program in 1996 and went right into a Registered Nurse program,” says Berni, whose family moved to Florida her senior year of high school.
She started her nursing career as an intern in the surgical trauma intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1999, she joined the in the surgical trauma intensive care unit at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne. There, she was first introduced to the concept of informatics, joining a team that designed and developed a new electronic documentation system for the ICUs. “It was interesting work at a time before nursing informatics was an entire field,” she says.
A move to the emergency department
While working in the ICU setting, Berni worked part time in the emergency department, where she discovered her passion. Later, Berni took an opportunity to move into the emergency department at Weusthoff Medical Center, and eventually became a site administrator. Berni and her family moved to North Carolina in 2012, and she continued her career in the emergency department with Mission Health.
In her next role at Haywood Regional Medical Center, Berni was an emergency department supervisor. “They asked if I would be interested in joining the informatics team,” she recalls. “I’d come to realize the impact that informatics can have and decided to move from direct patient care into full-time role as a clinical informaticist.”
BSN, MSN Nursing Informatics
During this time, Berni earned a BSN online in 2014 and started an MSN Nursing Informatics. When her former employer, Mission Health, reached out about a new role for which Berni might be a fit, she was excited.
“Mission is the largest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and had an awesome reputation,” she says. Berni rejoined Mission Health, later to be known as HCA Healthcare-North Carolina division, as a nurse informaticist. In 2018, Berni was approached to become a clinical project manager for nursing services and be part of an activation team to transition several services lines into a new 220-bed tower. “I got into change management and all kinds of things that were so interesting to me. It was a great opportunity to learn and grow.”
Enhancing her knowledge with a Doctor of Nursing Practice
Just a few months after completing the MSN Nursing Informatics in 2017, Berni started the DNP Informatics Leadership at American Sentinel. “When I was researching programs, I knew I needed an online program because of my work schedule, and as I looked around, I was attracted to the Doctor of Nursing Practice Informatics Leadership because it was one of the only programs of its kind,” she says. “American Sentinel was also less expensive than many of the others I looked at. I liked the emphasis on leadership development and informatics in the curriculum.”
A move to Pennsylvania in 2019, a new chapter
When HCA Healthcare acquired Mission Health in 2018-2019, the hospital went from a regional, centralized location to a larger organization. “It was time for me to make a change,” Berni says. She came across an out-of-state position on a job board that sounded exactly what she wanted to do, and applied.
In December 2019, Berni started a position as director of clinical and operational informatics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania. Having the doctorate underway, Berni adds, certainly set her apart. “I have the background as a nurse and an informaticist the last few years, but I am confident that holding an MSN Nursing Informatics and being close to having the DNP Informatics Leadership generated more interest in me as an applicant.”
Goals for the future
This month, June 2020, Berni will complete the DNP Informatics Leadership. She hopes to progress as a leader and work her way up to chief nursing informatics officer one day, and she credits her capstone chair, Dr. Judy Burkhardt, for encouraging her to never give up on the pursuit. “Even when it was difficult to juggle school, work and life, it was Dr. Burkhardt that kept me on target,” she says. “She may never know how much she means to me for all her support and guidance.”
American Sentinel has increased her confidence, Berni adds. “I’ve become comfortable with the fact that I don’t always have all the answers, and I don’t need to,” she says. “It is OK to jump in and learn as you go. That’s where growth happens, and that is something I’ve learned during my time as an American Sentinel student.”
Inspired by Berni’s story? A DNP with a specialization in informatics leadership enables nurses with informatics experience to combine their passion for nursing with their skills in technology and data, and to lead informatics in today’s healthcare systems. 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.
Learn what American Sentinel has to offer:
Let us answer any questions you have. Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch quickly.