Changing careers can be a stressful, but Stephanie Dubaniewicz is managing the transition successfully, thanks to the energy she is applying to the task and the methodical approach she is taking to building a new future. Completing the School’s Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management
program is a key element in this plan.
Dubaniewicz's first challenge was to decide what she wanted to do. She eventually chose respiratory therapy. “I find it fascinating to learn how the human body works,” she says. “With respiratory therapy, I felt I could use that knowledge to make a difference.”
She earned an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy degree from Tidewater Community College, took the exams to become a registered respiratory therapist and secured a position as a respiratory therapist at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virginia Beach. “It’s a problem-solving, critical-thinking profession,” she says. “I love every minute of it.”
As she grew more familiar with health care, Dubaniewicz began to appreciate that, given dramatic changes in the industry, there was a growing need for people with health care experience in administrative positions. “I decided I wanted to prepare myself to move to that level when I was more experienced,” she said. Dubaniewicz began to investigate online programs and learned that the School was planning to introduce the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management.
“Everything I learned about the program as it developed impressed me,” she says. “I loved the curriculum and the idea that you could transfer in with 60 credits.”
Dubaniewicz, whom Ana Abad-Jorge, the program’s director, calls “student zero,” is on track to graduate after three-and-a-half years in the program. “You would never know this is a new program,” she says. “It has been exceptionally well thought-out, and the instructors are excellent.” Although the program is delivered online, Dubaniewicz likes the idea that students travel to UVa once a semester to meet their classmates and instructors. “It’s very helpful being able to picture them when I communicate online,” she says.
As chair of the Respiratory Therapy Partnership Council at work, Dubaniewicz has already had the opportunity to apply some of the knowledge and competencies she’s gained from her classes. “Thanks to the BPHM program, I am in a better position to contribute to my organization and to advance,” she says.