Like the tech boom, there’s also a hospital building boom in San Francisco. The latest example is the expansion of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. While the city’s public hospital plans to hire 100 new registered nurses, there’s also a demand for other occupations throughout the health care industry, particularly health care educators. One leading industry expert, Elena Capella, Ed.D., took time to offer advice to students interested in a career as a healthcare educator.

(Photo Courtesy of Elena Capella, Ed.D.)

(Photo Courtesy of Elena Capella, Ed.D.)

What is your background and education?

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“I have my master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate in education with a minor in organization and leadership. I also have a master’s in public administration. For the last 20 years, I taught graduate courses while working in health care administrative positions. Three years ago I became a full-time educator and recently the director of the online RN-M.S.N. program at the University of SanFrancisco. My students are registered nurses who have been working in health care organizations and decided to go back to school.”

What is your area of expertise?

“My area of expertise is health care quality improvement and compliance. Much of my career has been focused on evaluating health care service delivery and compliance with regulatory requirements. My driving interest is in the science of healthcare improvement.”

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What career advice can you share to students interested in a career in education?

“If you’re interested in working with bright and highly motivated students, graduate education is a good choice. It is a challenging job that requires a high level of education and a sustained effort to keep up with developments in the field. Our students work at the best hospitals in the country, so it is important for me to update my knowledge continually or I will be unable to challenge these students to dig deeper and learn more.”

“For teaching at the graduate level, it helps to have worked in the same profession as the students because students identify with someone who has relevant experience. As an educator, it is very satisfying to see how much influence students gain as they complete the program. Our curriculum is designed to give students competencies associated with the Clinical Nurse Leader. It is my interest in the science of health care improvement that inspires me to do this work.”

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Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on