A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
To me, health is about more than treating a cold or a sprained ankle. It’s helping people live violence-free and get a good education so they can be successful. It’s important to me to work with people who believe that, too.
That’s why social work was so exciting. I wanted to help people be healthy in every way, so I went to school for my master’s degree in social work.
Training as a social worker prepared me for a job as the youth program coordinator at a clinic, where the care we provide goes beyond traditional health care. For example, I help youth cope with losses in their family and abusive relationships.
What’s your current job and what does it require?
My job is mostly administrative. It’s very different from caring for patients, but it is part of ensuring that patients get the help they need.
I participate in a lot of meetings to make sure our clinic is running smoothly. I work with local groups to let youth know they can come to us for health care.
And I manage the budget and raise money to help keep our clinic doors open. We receive money through grants from the government or charitable foundations, so I have to prepare reports to show them what we’re doing with the money they give us.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
The most gratifying part of my job is when patients come back and tell us how their lives are better because of the care we provided. It reenergizes all of us on stressful days.
What’s most challenging?
It’s a lot of responsibility to juggle. I supervise three staff plus interns, and I trust them to deliver the best health care possible. But we’re a small clinic. If we have a lot of patients and our health educators are busy, it’s my job to step in and help. I rely on my social work background for that.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering becoming a medical and health services manager?
If you’re interested in a job as a medical and health services manager, there are many different ways to get there. You don’t necessarily need a master’s degree; it depends on where you work. Jobs where you supervise other staff, classes where you learn to apply for grants, or hands-on internships are all good ways to get the experience you need.