Saint Joseph's University

The Value of Earning a Master’s Degree Online

The decision to attend graduate school can be a tough one for many reasons including things like time commitment, financial commitment, determining the right degree, etc. For some, the decision may come easy and early in their education, whereas for others (such as myself), it may come later such as after completion of undergraduate studies.

When I first began my undergraduate studies at another well-known university, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I was always interested in healthcare and medicine, so, I decided medical school would be the right choice for me.

However, after speaking to numerous advisors and career counselors, I found the physician assistant profession to be something of greater interest to me, which yes, also required a serious commitment to graduate education. From then on, I declared myself as a biology major and began taking all necessary courses to prepare me for Physician Assistant School. The university I selected was so large and heavily science- and math-based. There was great emphasis on science and math classes, biology, chemistry, and calculus for example, but there were often more than two thousand students per class and the school tended to use classes “weed out” students unsuited for a career in the field of science and medicine.

Requirements and experience

Learning such complex information in an environment where professors are there simply to lecture the material and ultimately conduct research was tough. However, it did give me my first experience of learning that in college, often times you had to teach yourself and rely on yourself.

Needless to say, I did not do as well in my science and math classes as intended, and my science GPA was not where it needed to be for Physician Assistant School, but I did not give up. I continued taking the necessary courses and also decided to declare myself as a public health major because it was more dynamic, versatile, and appealing than your typical biology major.

To fulfill my clinical requirements and experience, I achieved my CPR certification and began shadowing an actual physician’s assistant, which I continued for months. At about the time when I was a junior at Rutgers University, I was a bit overwhelmed and burnt out. Working two jobs, shadowing, and taking courses non-stop, summer, winter, and fall semesters, so I would not have to take an additional year off between undergraduate and graduate school was really getting to me.

I sought out the advice of my public health advisors and – although an extremely tough decision – I decided to put my physician assistant career on hold and complete my certificate in healthcare administration, bringing me just in time for graduation in May 2015.

Understanding Health Care

Upon completion of these courses, I realized that this was a perfect fit for me. I was interested, intrigued, and continuously wanted to learn more about healthcare from this standpoint, while truly understanding what it was I was learning.

I also had the pleasure to meet and learn from the President and CEO as well as the EVP and COO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where I currently work in Strategic Planning. These two gentlemen sealed my commitment to pursuing a career in healthcare administration and furthering my knowledge in this field. After working at Robert Wood for four months, I decided, with the help and advice from our EVP and COO, that pursing a Master’s of Science in Health Administration was the right decision for me.

That is when I found the Online Master’s in Health Administration at Saint Joseph’s University and could not be happier with my decision.

About the Author

 Brittani Caponegro

Brittani Caponegro began the program in October 2015 and has completed two classes thus far. She graduated Cum Laude from Rutgers University in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health and a concentration in Healthcare Administration. She began her career working at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in June 2015 as a Management Systems Lead Steward in Strategic Planning. Brittani currently works to facilitate and coordinate Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s business model, known as Operation: Excellence, which aids in their strategic planning process.

Brittani is in the process of transitioning to a new role, Analyst, but will still remain in Strategic Planning. Overall, she has learned a great deal of information and is looking forward to her next classes in the program!

Grad Year: 2018
Program: MS in Health Administration

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