Considering a Degree and Career in Health Administration?

Virginia (Ginny) Blair, assistant professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy

John (Jay) Shiver, assistant professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy

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Learn more about this rapidly growing field from George Mason Department of Health Administration and Policy faculty and recent graduates.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics*, the job outlook for careers in health administration for 2019-2029 is highly favorable with a projected growth rate of 32%, which is “much faster than average” for job growth. Virginia (Ginny) Blair and John (Jay) Shiver share insights into the field of health administration and the importance of experiential learning in achieving success.

Why is it important for students interested in Health Administration to do a practicum?

Blair: Healthcare administration is an applied degree. Students do not need a clinical background, but they do need the practical experience of being part of an organization and that is what the practicum provides. During their course of studies, students are exposed to the fundamental principles of healthcare management that will prepare them for a "job" following graduation.

What skills, knowledge is most critical for students to know before they are “ready” for an internship or practicum?

Shiver: Throughout their matriculation the value of practical experience is impressed upon all students. Because we believe that the internship is so vitally important we spend the semester prior to the internship working with students to secure an appropriate internship that enhances their knowledge and skills in a practical manner. During this semester students are also taught how to approach a job search and the value of having a mentor. 

What advice do you have for students who are interested in Heath Administration and considering an internship?

Shiver:  The entire staff at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, including the CEO, are committed to educating students. Throughout their internship experience at IMVH students are exposed to the entire organization. They attend meetings and take minutes, they meet with managers across the entire organization, observe surgery and perform essential functions in various departments. They also are called upon to conduct important projects and studies.

The internship with Stacey at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital doesn’t sound like the “run of the mill” internship experience… what kind of internships experiences do you seek out for your students?

Blair: There are a variety of opportunities available for the students including the acute care experience, office practice, professional associations, not-for-profits, senior housing, and other health-related sectors. The program seeks to place students not only in an organization but also with a preceptor that is committed to their growth and development. The internship at Mt. Vernon is "unique" but since the placements are determine upon the students' interests, each student has their own "unique" experience. 

What advice do you have for students who are interested in Heath Administration and considering an internship?

Blair: The internship affords the student an opportunity for exposure to "real life" experience under the tutelage of a well-respected healthcare professional as a preceptor. This practical experience prepares the student in moving forward with their professional goals following graduation.

Shiver:  Healthcare administration is the most wonderful career no one knows about. Many know about the role of the doctor and nurse, but we never hear about those who bring it all together for the benefit of the patient and community. Healthcare is exceptionally complex. It is one of the largest components of every community and essential for everyone. Working within this valuable community asset is a wonderful career. It is honorable and respected.

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