Student Spotlights

Deborah Groff

Harnessing data to improve patient care

MPS in Analytics, College of Professional Studies

In her first year as a registered nurse, in 1993, Deborah Groff cared for many a patient whose recovery was hindered by preexisting health conditions, mental health issues, and financial constraints. For the next 27 years, these experiences would motivate her to better understand the complex factors that influence health outcomes.

“The science of nursing requires that we understand all the factors affecting a patient’s outcome, and navigate around that,” she says. “Data gives us another way to understand these variables.” At every step—assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, evaluation—it’s essential to be able to spot even subtle nuances, she says.

“In many ways, this program will help me refine my nursing practice.”

Using data to create reports and visualizations for her manager piqued Groff’s interest in the formal study of analytics. Now she’s enrolled in the Roux Institute’s two-year Master of Professional Studies in Analytics program.

Groff takes classes part time while working full time in care management at Maine Medical Center in Portland. She works with a team of nurses, social workers, and physicians who advocate for patients to receive services after being discharged. It’s up to Groff to communicate with her patients’ insurance companies to make sure their needed services are paid for.

“I look forward to the experiential aspects of my program, the hands-on experience,” she says. “I learn best by doing.”

A lifelong learner, Groff is excited to discover how proficiency in data analytics will advance her career. “I like exploring interests I don’t fully understand,” she says. “I intend to stay curious.”