Meet Alexandra Ricciardiello: OCP Apprentice at OU Health
“Do it,” Alexandra Ricciardiello says in regard to the CareerPath program. She’s a CareerPath Apprentice and Network Operations Administrator at OU Health in Oklahoma City. Her story, well, it’s nothing short of inspiration. In the dynamic world of technology, those who thrive often share common traits: adaptability, relentless curiosity, and an insatiable appetite for learning. Alexandra's story is a testament to the transformative power of seizing unexpected opportunities and embracing change.
Armed with a degree in cybersecurity from the University of Tampa, Alexandra initially envisioned herself forging a career in digital security. Fate - and hard work - had a different plan. Her path took an unexpected turn when she stumbled upon a job posting from Optimum. “If you told me back in college,” she says, “when I took that one networking class, that this is what I’d be doing for a living, I would have said ‘no way.’” The CareerPath program offered training and a gateway into the healthcare tech industry. Alexandra's willingness to explore uncharted territory led her to embrace a role that stretched her abilities and opened doors she never anticipated.
So, it’s day one on the job, and Alexandra is challenged with building the Network of Operations Center (NOC) from its infancy. “When I got here,” she says, “the NOC was an empty room. Since we’re building it from scratch, my ability to be flexible, adapt, and apply creativity has been embraced.” There’s a philosophy at OU Health that encourages iteration: If you break it, you’re learning. Tossed right into the job, Alexandra has received invaluable, on-the-job training. Needless to say, there’s been plenty of learning. “Networking is extremely complex,” she says. “Half of the job is behind the computer, but the other half is on-site and hands-on with devices. I’m learning fast because I’m seeing everything I work on, and I get to bond with my team.”
As the NOC actively evolves, Alexandra works alongside multiple healthcare stakeholders. She credits the industry-specific CHIME training she received for equipping her with an in-depth understanding of healthcare systems. This knowledge has proved vital when troubleshooting issues with critical medical devices. For example, Alexandra discusses a high-pressure situation: a networking change implemented on a Philips monitoring system responsible for tracking vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure had unintended consequences causing the system to falter. Alexandra leaned on her CHIME-acquired skills to work closely with the vendor and stakeholders across the entire hospital - doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Her deep understanding of IT and the intricacies of how hospitals function helped her navigate a complex scenario with grace.
Over the past year, Alexandra has been at the forefront of significant events at OU Health. She played a crucial role in a network cutover and actively participated in the successful go-live of Epic. These experiences have reinforced her commitment to lifelong learning and collaboration with healthcare professionals: “During go-live I met a lot of OCP analysts, and I saw how nurses use Epic on a daily basis, which helps me understand how my job fits into theirs. Overall, this year has been nonstop growth from the beginning.”
It’s true - Alexandra's journey from college to her current role has been characterized by both personal and professional growth. Her bold move halfway across the country led to the creation of a new life and strong connections, both within and beyond her workplace. She speaks to the exhilarating adventure of setting up a new life in a new city alongside a new career: “The city is wonderful and all the people I work with have been really great.”
With a newfound passion for networking, Alexandra plans to someday pursue her Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on management roles. Alongside her academic pursuits, she is committed to obtaining networking certifications that will further enhance her qualifications, solidifying her position as a dynamic leader in the industry.
Alexandra's advice to those considering programs like Optimum CareerPath is a resounding do it. Her story highlights the diverse skill set she acquired through her journey. She says, “Without Optimum, I would not be in this role and I'm so grateful. I can't even express that enough. Normally, it takes years of experience to get here, and yet here I am. It’s worked out and it’s been awesome."
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The Optimum CareerPath Spotlight series showcases the talents and backgrounds of CareerPath graduates. Optimum CareerPath is a targeted recruiting, training, and placement program that identifies and trains high-aptitude, early-career employees. After a 12-week, paid training program, CareerPath graduates are placed at client partner sites for rewarding careers in healthcare IT. Learn who the people are behind this innovative talent program.