Grad finds her niche in informatics

Co-op, Human and Social Development

- Kate Hildebrandt

Wright. Photo: Malia Moore.

Michelle Wright’s decision to enrol in Health Information Science (HINF) was influenced by three key factors: word-of-mouth, the internet and personal satisfaction.

Born and raised a stone’s throw from campus, she spoke with a few friends who had graduated from the program. One close friend told her about the strong rate of hire for HINF graduates and the ability to make an impact in the health care field through technology, adding, “I know you love math, which means you’ll love informatics.”

Wright was intrigued.

She then did some online research on careers for graduates and on the HINF faculty. She was impressed on both counts. “Good teachers make all the difference in my ability to learn,” she says.

She also rated her own career needs; business, people and management attracted her most. While nursing was appealing, she wasn’t sure she’d withstand the emotional pressures.

So, she decided to give HINF a try for one year. When that year was up, she still wasn’t convinced informatics was the right fit. All that changed after she completed her first co-op work experience supporting a high-tech joint overhaul of the billings and accounts receivable records system for Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care.

“I loved it,” says Wright. “I felt really comfortable there.” Manager Theresa Volk, also a HINF grad, helped her grapple with project specifics and mentored Wright. “Everything turned around in those four months,” she says. “That co-op cemented my desire to stick with it.”

Wright returned to HINF determined to complete and graduates this month—a success story she shares with HINF co-op coordinator, Dave Hutchinson.

“She’s brilliant,” says Hutchinson, noting Wright was the school’s Coop Student of the Year in 2016. “And I mean that in every respect, not just as a student. She’ll really go places.”

Wright is currently completing a seven-month contract as an analyst (employed before graduation, earning a competitive wage) with Island Health’s Home Health Monitoring Program, a free service that enables people with heart failure or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to manage their condition from home.

When that contract is over, more choices await. Employers are calling. There’s the master’s in health information science, which she wants to pursue. Yet she dreams of taking a break and travelling, having been with HINF for four years fresh out of high school.

“There are too many opportunities,” she says, smiling, as if to say that’s the best problem to have when you’re 22 years old.


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Keywords: convocation, graduation, student life, alumni, health, health information science, co-op

People: Michelle Wright

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