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Laney Paterson

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What was your Undergrad Institution and Major?

Health Information Systems at University of Maine at Farmington.

What piqued your interest to study health communication?

I have witnessed a disconnect between patients and their providers throughout my own personal and professional experience. There is often a limited understanding of one’s own health condition and treatment plan. Health communication is a perfect for addressing gaps between care teams and patients and providing a better healthcare experience.

Why is earning your MS at Northwestern important to you? 

Northwestern University is actively involved in the healthcare industry. I sought an MS program that could facilitate first-hand knowledge on daily healthcare issues. Additionally, Northwestern’s reputable programs and progressive culture enticed me to be a Wildcat.

What are your career goals? 

With the experience and skills gained in the MSHC program, I strive to strengthen healthcare organizations’ internal and external communications through technology. I dream of creating a program that improves patient education, resulting in improved access and quality of care.

Any tips on balancing school, work, and life?

The answer to balancing school, work, and life is something everyone would love to know. I find that no one is perfect at it; however, being aware and communicative about your needs is the best way to foster success in a new environment. Designate and prioritize time for yourself, for school, for work, and for others.

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

My favorite part of the program right now would definitely be Dr. Lambert’s class, How Interactions Works. It focuses on communication theory within the healthcare industry. Dr. Lambert always provides engaging and comical activities in class that increase engagement and content application.

Is there any additional advice or information that you would like to share?

If you have a question, ask it! The instructors, TAs, and program staff are all here to support you and your educational journey, whether you have matriculated or not. There are so many resources and tools within the MSHC program to help students achieve their goals.

How has communication changed for you since starting the program?

I have already recognized changes in my own communication style that I learned through the MSHC program. I see opportunities easier than before and find solutions in a more efficient way. I have even sent my co-workers some articles reviewed in class that helped with projects we are involved in!