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Drawn to a Duke career after serving her country: Misty's story

team member misty guerrero smiling and leading against a wall

When Misty Guerrero, application analyst II with Duke Health Technology Solutions, first moved to North Carolina while serving in the United States Marine Corps, she never anticipated staying here after completing her service. But after meeting her husband and getting to know the area a bit, they made the collective decision to stay.  

Seeking to transition into a civilian career, Misty began taking courses at Durham Technical Community College, and later began nursing school at the Watts School of Nursing. During her clinical rotations at Duke University Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital, Misty decided that Duke Health was where she wanted to start her career. 

“It was an amazing place to work. Everybody was willing to help. You’d walk down the hallway and people knew each other’s names and would say ‘Hey, how’s your kid?’ and it was just weird to me,” said Misty. “In this big place, people cared enough to learn about other folks working there. It just stood out to me that this was the place I wanted to be.”  

After graduating from nursing school, Misty began her career as a new graduate nurse in the emergency department at Duke Regional Hospital in May 2006.  

Misty quickly grew as a new graduate nurse and eventually progressed to a clinical team lead position in October 2010.  In her new role, Misty had the opportunity to lead several different initiatives, including billing reviews and opening a clinical decision unit. She also took advantage of opportunities to grow her skillset through both professional classes and the support of her manager, Mitch Babb. 

“He was always trying to make sure that you had the tools to do the best that you could in the role you were in,” said Misty. “I really appreciated that.” 

It was in this role, as a clinical team lead, that Misty uncovered a new interest in health care — the technological piece. Misty was met with support from her manager to pursue this interest. 

“I got really interested in Wellsoft, which was our electronic medical record before we moved over to Epic, and I got to work on a lot of cool things with that,” said Misty. 

When Duke Regional Hospital began to transition to the Epic electronic health record — shortly after Duke Health became the first provider in the greater Triangle area to begin implementing it — Misty’s manager suggested that she play a role in the transition, given her nursing experience and interest in the technological side of health care. 

image of team member misty guerrero at desk

My manager said 'You're closer to the bedside and you've been involved with these things. I think you would have better perspective.' So, I got to sit at the table with a bunch of really smart people and learn the workflows and manage reviewing them from an emergency department perspective. It was super fun. I really enjoyed that.

Misty Guerrero

Application Analyst II, Duke Health Technology SolutionsWith Duke since 2006

Throughout the transition to Epic, technological leaders across Duke Health leaned on Misty and her fellow emergency department team members for their clinical expertise and experience to determine the best way to operate the new system and its workflows, not only at Duke Regional Hospital but across the health system.

“I was really appreciative that they sought out the folks who do the work to provide the input into it,” said Misty. “To be one of the first hospitals to go live with it, it was really exciting.” 

As Duke Regional Hospital made the switch, Misty helped her fellow team members work through questions and concerns with the implementation and new processes. From setting up a room on the night of the integration with snacks and having Superman capes to remind team members of the great work they do, to consistent information sessions for team members who needed additional support afterwards, Misty took the lead and helped ensure a smooth transition for Duke Regional Hospital’s emergency department.  

In February 2015, seeking to pursue her technological interests further, Misty transitioned into a nursing informatics specialist position at Duke Regional Hospital — but it wasn’t a role she always imagined herself getting into. 

“It wasn’t like I ever planned to be in IT. I always planned to be at the bedside with patients. That was really what I thought I’d do forever,” said Misty. “Never, at Duke, have I went looking for somewhere else to go. The doors just opened and I walked through them.” 

Misty was able to take her experience from nursing, and Duke Health’s transition to Epic, and use it in a new way. 

“I got to learn a whole other side of things. I went from working in the emergency department, clinical decision unit, and in billing, to working with hospital-based clinics or how radiology works with patient flow,” said Misty. “I really got to see a health system view of making changes and what that really incurs.” 

Partnering with team members at Duke Regional Hospital, as well as application analysts from Duke Health’s overarching Technology Solutions team, Misty worked among like-minded technical team members to help find solutions. Inspired by her interest to continue learning about the technological side of health care, the application analysts she grew to know and appreciate, and the opportunity to grow at Duke Health, Misty took her career in a new direction in October 2021. 

Misty transitioned to an application analyst II position with Duke Health Technology Solutions, now supporting all three Duke Health hospitals in their use of the Maestro Care application in Epic.  As Misty transitioned into her new division, she found an opportunity to bring her previous experience in direct patient care to the table and bring everything full circle. 

“There’s a lot of things that I worked on in my old roles that come up again or I get to build them,” said Misty. “I got to do the pre-work and now I make the magic happen, which is really cool.” 

Now, as Misty looks to the future, she reflects on the support of leaders and fellow team members in her career progression from nursing to information technology — and ways that she can continue to be part of innovation at Duke Health. 

“It started from the very beginning, honestly. They always had a succession plan, are always trying to help you grow into your role and give you the resources you need to be successful. I’m not sure that happens everywhere,” said Misty. “I have no intention of going anywhere else."

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The support and opportunities to be part of innovation at Duke Health led Misty to where she is now and have sustained her in her transition from bedside nursing to information technology. Uncover your own opportunities to create a new career path at Duke Health.

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Misty Guerrero assisting another team member

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