From CNA to DHA: Growing in Health Care Administration

Written byHope Aucoin

“Everything I learned in HSA — health care collaboration, finance in healthcare, communication styles, leadership — just became more detailed as I got higher up into my education.”

Randi Taylor
Graduation Year
Health Services Administration

Randi Taylor was already a certified nursing assistant when she enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette more than a decade ago, intent on earning her B.S. in Nursing to become an RN.  

But Taylor soon realized bedside nursing wasn’t the right fit. She changed her major to Health Services Administration — a fully online bachelor’s degree program — and her path was set.  

Through Health Services Administration, Taylor was able to stay within the College of Nursing & Health Sciences to complete her bachelor’s degree while exploring the technology, management, and policy making side of healthcare.  

"It really worked for me since I was already a single parent and working, so I could better fit everything in my schedule. I really liked that,” she says. “Everything I learned in HSA — health care collaboration, finance in healthcare, communication styles, leadership — just became more detailed as I got higher up into my education.”

Now 32, Taylor is hitting new professional and academic milestones, stepping into a new role as research program manager at Houston Methodist and earning a Doctor of Healthcare Administration.

Learning Online, Not Alone

Mastering course concepts was only half the battle for Taylor as she worked to earn her bachelor’s degree. She also had to find a way to balance working, parenting, and community involvement.  

“I had so much going on,” she says. “I got involved on campus, I joined a sorority, so I was pretty busy. I always tried to work really hard, but I also had the support of my family and time management skills. I would always work on what was most important or what had the earliest deadline first. And I would use a lot of agendas and notes to remind me of all of my commitments.”

Taylor was also able to lean on others in the program, building relationships that have continued beyond the online classroom.  

“I still have two good friends that also graduated from the HSA program,” Taylor says. “We've kept in touch, so even though I haven't seen them since graduation, in 2017, we've remained close friends and supported each other as we move forward in our careers.”

Dr. Rachel Ellison, associate professor and Health Services Administration program coordinator, also became a mentor and guide for Taylor, helping her identify internship opportunities and the importance of networking.  

“Dr. Ellison assigned us to make a LinkedIn profile, which has really helped me grow, network and meet the right people to help me gain the experience that I have,” says Taylor. “I was able to get my first job at MD Anderson through LinkedIn, and I wouldn't have had LinkedIn if it wasn't for Dr. Ellison. I'm grateful to her for that.”

Working in Healthcare Administration

Taylor moved to Houston during her last semester of courses to pursue an internship with Sky High for Kids, which “supports children undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening conditions.”  

Leveraging her internship experience along with the communication, critical thinking, research, and analytical skills built through the B.S. in Health Services Administration program, Taylor later joined MD Anderson Cancer Center as a research data coordinator. 

As she pursued her master’s degree and eventually her doctorate, Taylor continued moving forward in her career as a clinical research program coordinator before moving to Houston Methodist as a regulatory compliance specialist and now research program manager.  

In her role, Taylor oversees several internal processes and tracks time to activation of oncology trials. She also oversees a team of regulatory compliance specialists.  

For those just starting out or considering a degree in health services administration, Taylor says don’t underestimate the power of connection.  

"I would definitely recommend going to UL Lafayette not just for the academics, but also for the social aspect,” says Taylor. “I think it's very important to get involved, whether it's a sorority, fraternity, clubs just to get involved on campus, get involved in your community. Network through LinkedIn or through professional organizations to meet other people, so you can get connected and access that first opportunity. You have a lot of resources and organizations to facilitate that growth.”

Develop the skills to lead in health care. Learn more about the online bachelor’s in Health Services Administration today.  

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