Education - Page 3 - Programs for health care professionals

- Page 3
Programs for health care professionals
Degree and certification programs encourage career advancement

By Emily Parks, Contributing Writer

Continuing education is a critical next step for career advancement, especially in the field of health care. In addition to the required continuing education needed to keep licenses and certifications up to date, many seek additional education in order to take their skills to the next level.

Advanced degrees and certifications allow health care professionals to be eligible for higher level positions and are, therefore, more marketable.

The online Masters in Health Administration at University of Maryland is a two-year-long program designed to train students in health care delivery, financing, quality improvement, operations, strategy, principles of management and leadership, analytic skills, and population health.

There is even a state health policy elective taught by a Maryland state senator and director of a state commission. “We strive to train the future health care management workforce and leaders for the state and the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region,” says Dylan Roby, Ph.D., associate professor and associate chair within the Department of Health Services Administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

In addition to coursework, students complete an internship and a capstone program, assuring them they will have critical leadership skills. “The students take on projects during their internship and capstone that address the needs of their site, so they vary from consulting reports on error reporting practices to doing a policy analysis of a specific law in a state that might impact the organization, or helping to collect data to inform and improve processes,” Roby says. “We have had students complete projects on changing hospital workflow, integrating telehealth models into practice, and studying perspectives on quality among staff.”

Advanced coursework and continuing education also serve to fill critical gaps in the workforce.

Both the nurse anesthesiology option as part of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, as well as the online course at Howard Community College in preparation for the Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist Exam, were born out of the need for more qualified, skilled professionals in those fields.

The nurse anesthesiology option as part of the DNP program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing came about as a response to a shortage of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs.)

“The main driver for this program was through the anesthesia and critical care department in the hospital,” says retired Col. Bruce Schoneboom, Ph.D., M.H.S., CRNA, FAAN, associate dean for practice, innovation and leadership at the school.

“They see it as a workforce issue in the state of Maryland, as there was only one programfor nurse anesthetists, and that’s through the University of Maryland, Baltimore. As there are just not enough CRNAs, the department reached out to us to develop this partnership to satisfy this critical need.”

He also credits the strength of the program to this partnership between the School of Nursing and the anesthesiology department at the hospital.

Students will truly be set up for success the day after they complete the program. “The nursing school is ranked No. 1 in terms of the DNP program, which lays a great foundation along with excellent faculty,” he says. “Our anesthesia department is also ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report. You can’t ask for a better foundation.

“Hopkins also has the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and Safety as a resource,” he adds. “We plan on leveraging that into incorporating quality and safety throughout the curriculum.” He notes that as students develop projects for their DNP they plan to address clinical issues that can promote quality and improve the practice and within the department to improve patient outcomes. The first cohort will begin study in summer 2020 pending initial accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Applications opened in August of this year.

In fall of 2018, Howard Community College (HCC) launched an online course to prepare students for the Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES) exam. Health professionals who are already working in invasive cardiac electrophysiology or cardiac catheterization labs have the opportunity to enhance their skills and gain a

Health care, continued on page 8