Education - Page 9 - Health care continues to expand

- Page 9
Health care continues to expand
Nursing, management and communications opportunities abound

By Nancy Menefee Jackson, Contributing Writer

To prepare students for health care-related careers, universities are adding programs, certificates and even square footage.

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing The current Johns Hopkins School of Nursing was built for 500 students, but today more than 1,200 are enrolled – and enrollment is projected to reach 1,600. Equally important is how the delivery of health care has changed, requiring innovative spaces to teach the next generation of clinicians and researchers.

Patricia Davidson, R.N., Ph.D., dean of the school, explains that health care has become much more interdisciplinary “and it’s hard to work together if you don’t learn together.” The current Anne M. Pinkard Building will still serve, though – its 25,000 square feet will be renovated, including a new façade, and a 45,000-square-foot addition will be added, designed by the architectural firms of William Rawn Associates and Hord Coplan Macht, Inc.

“They’ll be seamlessly joined; you won’t realize we’ll be building old vs. new,” says David Newton, associate dean for finance and administration, describing the $45 million expansion.

The new space is based on the need for interaction, collaboration with the health system, simulations, conferences and research. It will be a critical part of the school’s mission “to produce more advanced practice nurses to fill in the gaps,” Davidson says. Newton adds that since many students move to Baltimore to study advanced nursing, it was important to create a home for them – including a public café – providing “places and spaces for students to live and work and study, and not feel like they have to go out of the building to a Starbucks.”

As for the new glass frontage, Davidson says, “It’s a signal of our commitment to the city and local community here in East Baltimore.”

She notes that students will be encouraged to write on walls – “what your mother told you not to do” – thanks to writeable glass and drywall surfaces. Interactive LCD monitors and projectors, integrated microphones and speakers, and flexible classrooms that allow for group learning reflect today’s technology.

The new building will be much more conducive to events, whether research conferences or galas.

“Every year we have events ranging from 20 to 600 people,” she says. “Ten thousand people come from all over the world during the year.”

Recognizing the shortage of nurses and the changing landscape of nursing, the State of Maryland provided $4 million in funding. The France-Merrick Foundation of Baltimore and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation also provided significant funding.

“We’re incredibly grateful to our small donors and alumni who really care about us,” Davidson says.

Stevenson University

Back in the old days, explains Sharon Buchbinder, Ph.D., professor and program coordinator for the master’s in health care management, doctors ran hospitals, and didn’t necessarily do a very good job. Then the trend was for business people to run hospitals, but while they had more financial and management skills, they lacked compassion and saw only numbers.

In the 1960s, a new field of healthcare management emerged, creating professionals who were able to balance cost, quality of care and access to care. Specific coursework began to address those skills.

“At first the field was, quite honestly, only for men,” Buchbinder says with a laugh.

Now, the field is certainly open to women and it’s no longer limited to hospitals – instead health care managers find themselves managing everything from home care to free-standing surgical centers to large practices.

“Anywhere you have health care, there has to be someone to manage resources,” Buchbinder says.

That demand is why Stevenson created its master’s in healthcare management, a fully online
program geared toward working adults. Students choose from two tracks: quality management and patient safety or project management in healthcare.

First, though, students gain core competencies in a variety of courses such as epidemiology, human resources, marketing and health care policy. “If you don’t understand the regulation, you’ll be lost,” Buchbinder notes. Then they learn more specialized skills.

What differentiates the program from a more traditional MBA is that every course relates to health care and they are interdisciplinary.

“When they go out in the field, they will understand the perspective their colleagues have,” Buchbinder says. That’s important because “data shows time and time again that good teamwork makes for better patient outcomes.”

Justin Buonomo, the physician division manager for Howard County General Hospital, graduated from the program in 2015. He had an undergraduate degree in nursing and biology and was working as a nursing assistant at Johns Hopkins when he became interested in health care administration and learned about Stevenson’s program.

“The greatest thing it gave me is I was very clinically based – I had no business background and no finance background. The way it was set up really helped – it was case study-based, and the case studies had to be within five years, which is genius because health care is changing every day.”

Because he was working three 12-hour shifts, he was able to complete the program quickly – and as a testament to how doable the program is, Buonomo notes that he even played lacrosse for Stevenson while in the program, since he had a year of eligibility left due to an earlier torn ACL. Not only does he credit the program with giving him the skills to advance in administration, but he also earned All America and first team all conference honors as the faceoff specialist.

Loyola University Maryland
Health care understandably tends to focus on the clinical, but quality care is meaningless if patients don’t understand how to access it or comply with it – or even why they need it.

That’s where the field of health communications comes in, and it’s a vital tool for improving outcomes – and transforming attitudes.

“Health professionals have realized for us to improve community outcomes, we need to improve communication techniques,” says Elliott King, a professor and founder of the Certificate in Health Communications program.

King cites the influence key messages have had over the years, such as the “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” slogan.

“The whole field over the last 20 years has burgeoned, and with emerging media the opportunities are incredible,” he says. “How can we use what we know about effective communication to improve health outcomes?”

The new state-approved certificate program offers five three-credit courses. Students learn about what’s new in emerging media and gain the skills needed to influence patients’ behaviors.

“Our premise is that social media is being used across the board,” King notes.

The courses are ideal for those who are interested in being a public information officer, orchestrating a public health campaign, covering health care as a journalist, implementing marketing campaigns or are working in the public health arena.

The program is flexible and students can adapt it to enhance their skills, whether they’re working in marketing or public health.

“The field itself is very broad,” King says. “We will teach you the skills, but you customize it to your interest. We really think it’s a great opportunity – especially in our area.” •

Above left: The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing’s planned new building space is designed to accommodate the need for interaction and collaboration.

Health care field expects steady job growth

Health care is a field with steady demand, but what if you find it interesting but don’t like to touch people?

Fortunately, there is plenty of opportunity beyond clinical work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that medical and health services managers is one of the fastest growing professions, expected to grow by 20 percent by 2026. In 2017, the median pay was $98,350 per year.

Health educators, who develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities, can expect a 16 percent growth rate. The median annual wage in 2017 was $53,940. •