My interest in improving the delivery of patient care began my junior year of high school when I broke my left forearm. My injury involved a complex break, which gave me firsthand experience with our healthcare system through multiple surgeries, months of physical therapy, lab work and several follow-up visits. I soon realized that I was traveling through a system that was badly fragmented and difficult for the average patient to understand. This experience inspired me to pursue a career where I can help improve healthcare efficiency, patient experience and overall care.
I started my college career thinking that I wanted to go into nursing or physical therapy in my pursuit to help patients. During my junior year of college I met with a family friend who is a professor of public health. As she was explaining the types of classes she taught and the research she was conducting, I felt as if a whole new world opened up to me that matched my interests in patient care and my strengths in business. Healthcare management seemed like the perfect match for me, so after graduating with a bachelor of science, I went on to pursue my master of health services administration.
During my time in graduate school I learned about the payment and incentive side of healthcare by working with value-based models. I also completed an internship at a large academic medical center, where I gained hands-on experience in hospital operations and learned a great deal about the value of exceptional leadership. During my internship I was given the advice that to have a successful career, gaining a variety of experiences is important. This advice resonated with me, and I decided to start looking for a position that would provide me with broad exposure to multiple healthcare settings and viewpoints. I figured that by choosing positions early in my career that are broader and then consciously working my way toward a narrower specialty within the healthcare field, I will attain a unique combination of invaluable experiences that will help me make an impact on patient care at multiple levels. While looking for a position that would allow me broad experience in a wide range of healthcare topics, exposure to great leadership and valuable project management experience, I discovered the postgraduate fellowship at ACHE and felt it would be a great next step for my career.
I have been thoroughly impressed by the work being done and the people I have met during my postgraduate fellowship. I have learned a lot about the field of healthcare management from my projects and one-on-one interaction with ACHE’s leadership. I spent my first three months rotating through the various divisions of ACHE to achieve an understanding of the work done by each division and how we all work together to best serve our members. During this time I have also had the privilege to meet with leaders of multiple healthcare associations within the Chicago area, and I will take the knowledge I gained from those visits with me throughout the rest of my career. I am now working on more in-depth projects across multiple divisions of the organization to continue adding value to our membership, while learning a great deal about healthcare and the work of ACHE.
It is clear that healthcare is evolving quickly, and with this change come many opportunities for leaders to make a sizable impact on what healthcare will look like in the future. ACHE’s members are at the forefront of healthcare, working within a rapidly changing system to determine how best to provide efficient and quality healthcare to a growing population. Our job here at ACHE is to provide our members the best possible resources and support so they can continue positively affecting patient care.
ACHE’s annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership provides a place where the best and brightest healthcare leaders come together to share experiences, learn best practices and bring ideas back to their organizations. Congress is a great opportunity for students to learn from highly talented healthcare leaders from many different healthcare settings and from all parts of the world. Students have the chance to network with these accomplished leaders as well as other students and early careerists. Plus, Student Associates can apply to work as program assistants during Congress, which gives students great exposure and complimentary registration in exchange for their help.
Congress is not your only opportunity to get involved with ACHE. There are also opportunities with local chapters to meet with members who work near your school. Chapter events can provide local, lower cost opportunities to attend networking dinners and educational events and get to know other members on both a professional and personal level.
Finally, an internship or postgraduate fellowship with ACHE is a great way to gain more exposure to what’s currently happening in the healthcare management field, network with executives and learn about the work of associations. If you have questions about ACHE, the Diversity Internship or the Postgraduate Fellowship, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 424-9308 or visit our website at ache.org. I am happy to answer any questions you may have! Finally, mark your calendars for the 2014 Congress on Healthcare Leadership: Where Knowledge, Ideas and Solutions Connect, March 24–27 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.