"This new degree anticipates and answers the increasing need for more professionals in the business of health care," said Dr. Amy Bufford, coordinator of the Health Systems Management (HSM) program that is housed in the newly renamed College of Nursing and Health Professions at McNeese.
To do this, three academic concentrations are available through the HSM program-healthcare management, healthcare quality improvement and care coordination. The degree plan allows students to complete the degree requirements in three years. Both online and Web-based hybrid courses will be offered as well as an internship in a student's area of interest.
"Health systems management professionals are prepared to understand current and future health care trends and issues, to develop, communicate and manage resources and solutions to challenges for health care systems, and to improve overall quality and outcomes of health care systems and services," explained Bufford.
According to Dr. Peggy Wolfe, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, the college's name change reflects this new dynamic in health care.
"Our nursing students are involved in the direct care of patients while our health systems management students will be involved in the indirect care of patients," explained Wolfe. "Together, under the college's new name and mission, students will learn to work together as a team to handle the changes of today's evolving systems of health care."
Wolfe added that the new degree program "will equip our students with the knowledge and critical-thinking skills necessary to perform effectively in a variety of leadership roles at a wide range of health-care related positions."
Graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce in such areas as hospitals, health care clinics, consulting companies, insurance providers, community facilities and not-for-profits as well as managed care organizations. Among the job opportunities are health promotion specialist, residency coordinator, health systems manager, service operations director, health administrative coordinator, patient advocate, risk manager, population performance manager and medical practice manager.
Bufford said this new program is a good fit for individuals with degrees in business, nursing or other health care specialties who want to get into health care management. "This program may also appeal to those students who are in nursing, radiology, respiratory therapy or medical technology who suddenly decide that these careers are not for them, but they want to stay in the health care field. This degree offers these individuals an alternative with much of their coursework transferring into the HSM program."
McNeese and Southeastern have a history of working together in the area of health care, as they are both members of the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing Program, which also includes the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.
"With tight budgets for higher education in Louisiana," explained Wolfe, "partnering with Southeastern was an easy choice. Both of our health care constituents expressed a need for professionals in this area. This collaboration will reduce costs in delivering courses and sharing faculty, which will ensure quality instruction for students by both institutions."
Wolfe said that McNeese is excited to be offering the program. "Health systems managers are innovative - they have to think outside of the box to address the dynamic changes happening every day in the health care delivery system."
Registration for the fall semester at McNeese is currently underway through Aug. 17. For more information about the health systems management program, call 337-475-5820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.