Registered Nurse Chooses MLS Degree to Take Healthcare to the Next Level

Paul Vincent Tongsy

Paul Vincent Tongsy believes in continuous learning, and he’s always in search of knowledge that will help him grow his skills as a healthcare professional. But of all the programs he has attended before and after becoming a registered nurse, as he tells it, his favorite is Loyola Law School’s Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS) program.

He chose Loyola to learn about the law and how it applies to his profession and the medical field. “I’ll still be a nurse, but a legalized one,” he quips.

Loyola’s MLS degree program allows working professionals to advance their careers through a customized legal education in a variety of subject areas without the time commitment and expense demanded for a JD degree. Tongsy is pursuing the Health Care Law Course of Study, which means he takes courses on health organizations, compliance, insurance and more, while also learning basic legal subjects. He is pursuing his degree while still working part-time as a hospital bedside nurse, and expects to graduate in May 2019 – a year and a half after beginning his studies. 

Tongsy will be able to use his MLS degree to augment his nursing skills, or if he chooses, to move into teaching, health care compliance, administration or risk management. “I could really do anything that has a legal component and a nursing component,” he says.

Moving from a field like medicine to law could be daunting for many, but Tongsy says Loyola makes it easy.

“I find Loyola to be one of the most supportive environments to study in I’ve ever experienced — and I’ve been to a lot of schools. Administrators, faculty and staff all are approachable and helpful. The people at Loyola are willing to help you and guide you,” he says.

Even before he formally enrolled, Tongsy discovered that supportive approach from Assistant Director for Graduate Admissions Maura Boden and others in her office.

The dean in charge of the health law program, Associate Dean for Faculty and J. Rex Dibble Fellow Brietta R. Clark, also goes the extra mile, according to Tongsy. Besides helping MLS health law students find the right classes, she helps them network with others in the health law field, he says. A founder of Loyola’s Health Law Alumni Chapter and advisor to the student Health Law & Bioethics Association, Clark also teaches health law classes that directly relate to his field of study.

In fact, Tongsy has found all his professors to be very approachable and open to questions.

“The focus really is on teaching you. They’re very willing to help you find your strategy to truly understand the material and get the most out of your time at Loyola.”

That’s true of adjunct professors, as well, who are all experts in their fields. The professor for his health care organizations and compliance class, Robin McCaffery, is associate legal counsel at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Jerry Flanagan, who teaches Health Insurance Regulation, is the litigation director at the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog.

The faculty and other students in the MLS program also work in the real world, and that makes a big difference.

“There’s a passion for teaching at Loyola, so you as a student have a passion to learn,” Tongsy says. “You can also tailor the classes to your own needs, which means you can accelerate your career in the direction you choose.”

Learn more about how an MLS degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles can help you make a difference.