You’d never know it now, but Liz Harvey’s first career was in sales and marketing for Levi Strauss & Company.
But growing up in a family of healthcare providers, after a decade with the company, Liz decided that her calling was to help people. She earned an Associate Degree of Nursing in 1990 and started her career as a medical-surgical and orthopedic nurse at Baltimore Washington Medical Center, an affiliate of the University of Maryland Medical System. Two years in, she became an intensive care unit nurse. In 1997, Liz went back to school at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland to earn a BSN.
Power in Healthcare Data
In her role as a nurse, Liz got involved with the move to electronic health records and found herself intrigued. “Since I’d developed a lot of our paper documentation, I was asked to take it on, and I found that there is a lot of power in healthcare data. With data, we can change the way we care for patients, improve outcomes, drive profitability and much more.”
She made the intentional move into clinical informatics at her hospital in the late 1990s, then became a senior manager of application development. In 2001, Liz decided to earn the MSN in Nursing Informatics at the University of Baltimore. That opened the door to move into senior management at Baltimore Washington Medical.
Taking Advantage of Her Marketability
With the MSN Nursing Informatics, Liz worked in Florida hospitals and the Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, where she was the director of clinical information systems. When the opportunity to return to Maryland arose in 2008, she joined Medstar Health as assistant vice president of nursing informatics. Liz’s next move was to the Cerner Corporation, where she works as a director and regional healthcare executive. She works with hospitals and healthcare organizations to advise healthcare executive leadership on how to drive optimization and strategic initiatives focused on improving outcomes and clinician satisfaction associated with electronic health record utilization.”
Eyes on a Doctorate
As an executive, Liz started thinking seriously about a Doctor of Nursing Practice. “I’ve been thinking about teaching at a doctoral level in the future, and this is also a longtime personal goal,” she says. Her research for the right program led her to American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Doctor of Nursing Practice Executive Leadership.
“I travel 80% of the time, so it was important that I find an online program that worked with my life,” Liz says. Liz began the DNP program in February 2021 and found that a big benefit is the exposure to colleagues around the country. “I’ve learned from my classmates in other states, where things are different, and that’s been very beneficial. Someone will post something about what’s going on in their hospital and I find ways to consider and incorporate that into my own practice.”
Applying Her Knowledge
Another way Liz has applied what she’s learned in her job is her capstone project, “Optimizing the Nursing Admission Database to Improve Nursing Satisfaction.” “There is so much unnecessary electronic documentation that nurses are spending time documenting when they could be using this time to care for patients.” she says. “I’m evaluating my client’s feedback to determine if optimization improves nursing satisfaction.”
Staying the Course
When Liz graduates from American Sentinel in 2023, she wants to continue doing what she loves—with more knowledge. “I really love my job at Cerner, and just want to continue to add value,” she says. “Long term, I’d love to teach, and I’m always open to advancement opportunities. I think this program is preparing me for all of that. Really, it has been a great experience.”