A Day in the Life
Did you always want to work in health care?
No, actually, even though a lot of my family worked in the health sector, I couldn’t stand the sight of blood and didn’t like biology class growing up. I liked dealing with numbers much better. I also liked leading and working together with people, so I was pretty sure I’d go into business. That’s what I ended up studying in college, too.
How did you get interested in health then?
I did several business internships while in college, including one at a big bank, which I thought I’d like. While there, my supervisor actually became so stressed out and unhealthy because of work that he had a heart attack—and yet, while he was being wheeled away, he was still on doing work on his phone! I knew right then and there that the field was not for me.
While still in school, my friend convinced me to take a class in public health. I had no idea what that field even going into it, but I ended up loving it. It showed me that I could affect people’s health without having to be a doctor or nurse.
What’s your current job and what does it require?
I’ve been working as a Performance Improvement manager for about five years now. My job is to ensure that the hospital where I work is providing health services effectively and efficiently. We use techniques from business, manufacturing, engineering and other industries to help ensure we’re delivering high-quality care.
What training did becoming a performance improvement manager require?
After graduating from college, I knew I wanted to go into health management, so I talked to some people in that field and they recommended I go back to school to get a master’s in public health. I followed that advice and got that degree with an emphasis in management. Even while in graduate school, I was still interning and talking to people in order to figure out what kind of management I liked.
What’s your favorite part about the job?
One of the best parts of the job is that I’m not just sitting in an office crunching numbers. I get to work pretty directly with the health workers and patients, collaborating with them to improve the quality of care. I also like the management aspects of my job, which allow me to supervise and mentor others on my team. Seeing others grow and succeed is very rewarding for me.
What’s most challenging?
The hardest part of my work is tackling the complexity of health care. There are so many factors that affect the quality of care, and it’s our job to try to address all of those—even as they’re changing daily.