Schopps Driven to Impact Clinician Burnout

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Meet CHIP master's degree student Ashley Schopps!  In addition to focusing on obtaining her master's degree in Biomedical and Health Informatics through the online program, Ashley is leading a busy family life.  Her passion for learning more about healthcare systems and identifying areas for process improvement have spurred her commitment to her current internship project.  She is working as a student assistant with UNC School of Medicine, Radiation Oncology with Dr. Lukasz Mazur.  Her project is specifically focused on a systems analysis approach to identify causes influencing burnout among clinicians.  Read on to learn more about Ashley!

Why did you pursue an MPS BMHI program with CHIP?

I initially wanted to pursue this program to learn more about the intersection of technology and healthcare.  At the time, I was an analyst at a contract research organization, where I realized I was using a lot of technology, but I did not know how it worked, how it was produced, etc.  I wanted to dive deeper into the informatics side of things, and truly learn the "why" and "how" of systems we use in healthcare and research.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in the systems analysis side of user interface design. I truly enjoy the systems analysis process of learning about a system, where it is broken, and how to fix it.  I enjoy the challenge and problem solving involved in investigating user systems, particularly EHRs.

What are you doing for your internship? 

The purpose of my internship is to take a systems analysis approach to investigate factors influencing burnout among physicians and nurses. I have conducted contextual inquires, and we will conduct focus groups, compile summary statistics from data collected during the focus groups, create data models, and compose suggestions for those in leadership for the department based on the data to avoid healthcare worker burnout.

What do you find most rewarding about your internship?

I truly feel like this kind of research will make a positive difference for not only healthcare workers, but their patients and families.  I feel like I am contributing to solving a major problem that plagues the US healthcare system. We are bringing attention to a major problem that has been going unchecked for far too long.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to do work similar to my internship, to work in a setting where I can continue to research healthcare worker burnout and find ways to mitigate this issue.  It is an epidemic in the healthcare workforce and needs to be addressed.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

When I am not at work, I love playing outside with my family, swimming, and trying new restaurants with my husband.

Who inspires you?

The first thing that comes to mind is my children.  They truly inspire me to keep pushing to find ways to make a difference, to make their lives, and the lives of others, better.  I am also so inspired by the healthcare workers we have been working with on this project.  Seeing their dedication even after all the difficulties they face is truly inspiring.

What advice would you give incoming CHIP students?

Know your "why"! When things get hard, know why you started and who you are doing this for.  Chances are, you will face challenges during your time as a student, but don't let that deter you from achieving your goals and finishing strong.