I would say that the unprecedented access that I have been given to my academic advisors and professors, healthcare-related conferences, learning luncheons, C-level executives at my internship, and so on has been the overarching most valuable experience.
Academic advisors/professors: My academic advisors and professors are always willing to make time to meet with me. No matter how busy they are (and they are busy, to be sure), they still make the time. In particular, Dr. Renate Krause, Dr. Steve Serrao, and Dr. Eric Anderson have all welcomed me into their offices whenever I've wanted to speak with them, and they've given me lots of valuable advice.
Healthcare-related conferences: Within the past several months I have attended two health-related conferences, one in Irvine (7th Annual American Health Care Congress) and the other here at LLU (Healthy People 2011). These were not only valuable learning experiences, but they were also fun. I've also had the opportunity to attend similar events on a smaller scale, including the Health Law Symposium at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa where issues related to healthcare reform and to the future of healthcare were discussed.
C-level executives: For the past six months I have been serving as an administrative intern at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton, and until recently I worked out of an office right near the CEO, CFO, COO, marketing director, and other hospital executives had their offices. This gave me the opportunity to literally knock on their doors if I ever a question related to a project, to ARMC, or healthcare in general. ARMC is a big operation with over 450 beds, and to have access to the individuals running the place, and to learn from their experiences, has really been valuable.
Right now I'm looking into opportunities with Florida Hospital and, separately, with the NAVY. I would like to work in a position where I can support my family and make a positive difference in the lives of others. More specifically, I can imagine myself working at a hospital as an administrator, overseeing a marketing, human resources, or related department and eventually serving as CEO, though that's still a ways down the road.
How did your program train you for your current and future career?
The MBA program has equipped me with knowledge related to business communications, human resources, operations, epidemiology, and other areas. I think that a healthcare administrator really needs to know more than just the business side of things and mountains of concepts and theories. It's great to be able to learn concepts and theories in the classroom, but it's also great to be able to apply them in a real-world context. I've been able to do just that at my internship and to see the almost immediate results of what I've learned in the classroom.
There have been many. Some of the highlights include the following:
As part of my administrative internship, I have learned about many of the administrative aspects of hospital departments including nursing, pharmacy, lab, and other areas. I have been fortunate to sit in on board meetings, executive forums, conference calls, and to receive lecture-style presentations from the CEO himself on topics ranging from finance to healthcare reform. I have also been able to learn firsthand about other county departments like the Department of Behavioral Health.
St. Adelaide Schoolchildren Event
A group of students from St. Adelaide's Academy in Highland made a donation to ARMC's Burn Center. I was responsible for organizing an event as a learning experience and "thank-you" for their contribution. I also typed up a Media Advisory that was sent to local media outlets.
Nurse-Patient Ratio Project
I conducted research towards the end of determining whether the mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in California improve patient satisfaction.
Senate Budget Committee Hearing
Represented ARMC at a California State Senate Budget Committee Hearing as an observer and later reported on the event at a hospital executives' meeting.
Took part in helping to conceptualize AD concepts for ARMC that would appear in Inland Empire magazine, the Yucaipa Valley Messenger, and other areas. I also helped to develop the ad-text for these ads.
Support Our Troops Gift Card Drive
Coordinated a holiday gift card drive for American troops and their families here at ARMC this past Christmastime.
NACo, CSAC Award Submissions
Put together two award submissions for the hospital. One of these was for the National Association of Counties (NACo) related to ARMC's cancer screening events; the other was for the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and was related to ARMC's Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) and the success of ARMC's Start Taking Accident Reduction Seriously (STARS) employee recognition program.
CMSP Membership Letter Update
Assisted with updating the letter that ARMC sends to individuals who have qualified for San Bernardino's County Medical Services Program (CMSP), which is a program to help disadvantaged individuals obtain healthcare-related services.
Wrote an article for the hospital's Positive Employee Newsletter related to patient and employee safety, which is sent out to the hospital's 2,500+ employees.