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I am a Pioneer.

The HCA program is not so much a course as it is a personal journey.

By Pamela Johnson, August 2015

Utica College Pioneers mascot logo with mooseI chose Utica College because Utica offered a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration with an internship option. At that time, a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration course online was not commonplace. A Master's of Science in Healthcare Administration course with an internship option was definitely not conventional. When I applied to Utica, I submitted a resume, application, and transcripts. After receiving my acceptance letter via email, I was given a toll free number and access code, and attended an online virtual open house webinar. During the webinar, I asked questions, listened to others in the course, learned about the curriculum and key aspects of the program. Then, I learned how to log into the classroom, post assignments, and where to go for technical assistance through an online course platform webinar.

Utica offers several specializations like acute care, long-term care, service organizations, and community health and wellness. The HCA Director reached out to me personally and we established a plan of study tailored to my interests. The classes were set up in eight week increments, with at least one teleconference a week. Teleconferences were a team effort that allowed me to discuss what I learned with my classmates and the professor. Whenever I worked late, the next day I called in to listen to the pre-recorded version.

My First Course

The first eight weeks, I was enrolled in HCA 521 Healthcare Systems. During HCA 521, I was challenged to think about me in my current state and who I wanted to be in my future state. I learned about my strengths, weaknesses, and improvements that were necessary to attain my future state. In my future state I imagined being a Healthcare Administrator. I imagined living in Florida and making a $150,000 a year salary. In this vision I saw myself driving down the highway with the top down on my convertible.

HCA 521 equipped me with a personal roadmap for success. During this class, I learned what type of manager I would be, and that my main strength was my analytical ability. After some research, I determined that analytical people are usually good at redesigning processes or statistics. After gaining insight into who I was and who I wanted to be, I reached out to the Director for guidance.

The Internship

Less than one month into the program, the Director and Clinical Education Secretary helped me secure an internship in the Process Improvement Department at a local hospital in my area. The HCA program is not so much a course as it is a personal journey. Becoming a pioneer was the best decision of my life. My name is Pam, I am a Pioneer, and I graduate with my Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration this year!

About the Author

Pamela Johnson online student blogger at Utica CollegePamela Johnson has a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communications. She sat on the Board of Directors at Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, was secretary and member of the Adult Care Advisory Committee, and ESL Volunteer at Interfaith Refugee Ministries.

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