As healthcare professionals advance into leadership roles, there are many new skills they need. St. Catherine University alum Christopher Linke, BSN’16, MHI’20, knew this when he decided to get his bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) at St. Kate’s. “I started in nursing in 2003 with an associate’s degree in nursing. In order to be eligible for additional positions I needed to obtain my BSN. Completing my BSN through St. Kate’s online program was a great experience.” Linke says.
After working in nursing leadership for two years, Linke decided he wanted to combine his clinical experience with a desire to improve patient care. He was interested in health informatics, which is the interdisciplinary study of the adoption, design, and application of technology and scientific innovations in the healthcare industry. “The fields of informatics and data science encompass a wide variety of roles. The ability to turn data into knowledge that guides action is a skill that can serve you in any position. When I decided I wanted to pursue my masters in health informatics, returning to St. Kate’s was an easy decision,” Linke says.
For just over two years, Linke worked towards his St. Kate's Master's in Health Informatics (MHI) degree online, while also being a working parent. “Similar to completing my BSN, the MHI program at St. Kate’s was a great experience. From the very beginning I knew what the program structure was, and the classes were well-organized. I found the professors brought genuine interest and real-world experience.” He also enjoyed the breadth of content that was explored during the MHI program. “Perhaps the most surprising aspect was the utilization of computer programming, which I hadn’t considered. At first daunting, programming soon became a wonderful skill I began to incorporate into my current work even prior to graduating,” Linke says.
St. Kate’s mission and values shone in Linke’s online degree experience. “Not only does St. Kate provide an excellent education, but it also challenges students to seek opportunities to serve and improve the lives of others,” he says.
In January 2020, Linke started a new role at Fairview Health Services as a Quality Improvement Consultant. In this position, he works with healthcare teams to improve patient outcomes and experiences through a systematic, data-driven process of iterative and continuous improvement. Linke reflects, “Personally, successfully completing graduate school gives me confidence that I can accomplish daunting goals through hard work and persistence. The MHI program at St. Kates provided me with an understanding of the tools and theory that I can draw upon to be successful.”