Shared from the 10/5/2016 American Press eEdition

McNeese degree in health systems management surpasses expectations


McNeese State University / Special to the American Press

McNeese State University students enrolled in the health systems management program are, from left, Alexis Cormier of Crowley, Katherine Hensgens of Welsh and Taylor Gagneaux, Siyanda Mdleleni and Lola Grichendler, all of Lake Charles.

The growth of McNeese State University’s new degree program in health systems management has surpassed expectations after its first year of classes and this excites Dr. Amy Bufford, the program’s coordinator.

The HSM program — a collaboration with Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond — was first conceived with an anticipated enrollment of five students.

“Now, after one year, the combined number from both campuses is over 100 students,” according to Bufford. “The HSM program at Mc-Neese experienced the largest percentage growth in undergraduate enrollment for fall 2016.”

Housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, the HSM program addresses the growing demand for health care administrators and consultants and offers students a Bachelor of Science degree in one of three academic concentrations — health care management, health care quality improvement and care coordination. The degree plan allows students to complete the degree requirements in three years.

“With an eye toward the continuously evolving field of health care, McNeese is preparing students for careers beyond those involved with direct care,” says Bufford. “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.”

Graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce in such areas as hospitals, health care clinics, consulting companies, insurance providers, community facilities and not-forprofits as well as managed care organizations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of health care administrators will grow at twice the rate of average employment, and health care overall will surpass all other major employment sectors. “With this degree, McNeese students can soon join this critical labor force,” adds Bufford.

The program attracts students from a variety of backgrounds, but they all share a common interest in the areas where business and medicine intersect.

Siyanda Mdleleni, of Lake Charles, considered several majors before deciding on health care management. “It’s the right fit,” Mdleleni explains, “because what I eventually want to do is be an administrator at a large hospital.”

Alexis Cormier, from Crowley, enrolled in McNeese with the intention of being a nurse. “I wanted to help people,” Cormier says, “but I have multiple sclerosis, and the career opportunities that the HSM program prepares us for will allow me more flexibility.”

Katherine Hensgens, from Welsh, hopes to become a manager of quality care. “There’s job security on the one hand,” says Hensgens, “and on the other hand, you’re still involved in helping people get better.”

Taylor Gagneaux of Lake Charles wants to open his own rehab facility one day, while Lola Grichendler, from Lake Charles, wants to be a case manager for now.

The future of the HSM program looks good. “We do anticipate more growth,” said Bufford, indicating that she intends to form an advisory board by the summer of 2017, which will consist of practicing professionals from the community. “The advisory board will help our program stay abreast of current trends and issues in a variety of health care environments within our service area.”

For more information about the health systems management program, call 475-5835 or email Registration for the 2017 spring semester at McNeese begins Oct. 27.

ELLIOT KAISER is a graduate assistant at McNeese State University.

See this article in the e-Edition Here