In a response to the rapid shifts in health care, Colorado Christian University is launching a Health Care Administration (HCA) major
, effective in the spring of 2013. Offered by CCU's College of Adult and Graduate Studies (CAGS), the HCA major will equip students to professionally deal with the pace of change in health care today as they learn to manage the systems and resources of a clinic, hospital department, or long-term care facility.
"This major provides an opportunity for educating frontline leadership in health care," said Professor of Nursing Dennis Ondrejka, Ph.D. "Students will not only grasp health care delivery systems and ethics, but they will understand that how they relate to others is key. Health care is about relationships. We need servant leaders who understand that relationships are paramount."
The major will meet a drastically increasing need, as jobs for medical health and services managers are expected to grow by 22% from 2010 to 2020. For students interested in a health care career, the program will provide strong prospects upon completion while meeting significant needs in the community. It also provides a route for CCU nursing students who have completed their prerequisite courses but desire more options for future employment.
Tying into CCU's mission as a Christian institution, the HCA major will also prepare students to consider the spirituality of health care and its applications. At a time when health care is marketed more and more, and advertisements for insurance companies and hospitals are commonplace, patient satisfaction -- including emotional and spiritual well-being -- is increasingly driving a clinic's or facility's success.
"People are vulnerable when they talk about their health," explained Barbara White, dean of Nursing and Sciences at CAGS. "And health care is a sacred calling. How people respond to you as you make a phone call or manage a clinic makes a big difference -- and it will make a big difference for these facilities in the future."
Beyond managing patient satisfaction, the new major will equip students to review delivery systems, thereby streamlining efficiency and passing savings on to the consumer. "We haven't even begun to come to grips with the finite resources in health care," White added. "It will be a major issue in the near future."
As the U.S. population ages, health care needs will continue to rise, especially for long-term and chronic care. The HCA major will provide students with the resources and strategies to tackle such unique problems, which are at the forefront of health care. Students will learn how to more effectively equip hospital staffs to communicate and respond to patient needs while adhering to the rapidly changing laws and regulations.
"The pace of change is enormous," remarked Ondrejka. "We will update this program every two years, and textbooks will almost need updates as soon as they're printed. Students will pull information from government reports or magazine articles to learn the latest regulatory changes. In an environment where you can now can text a hospital emergency room to set up an appointment, the management issues are growing exponentially."
The Health Care Administration major will also prepare students for further study at the master's level. At either the baccalaureate or master's level, the course of study neatly fits CCU's mission of equipping students to make a difference in the world. "We'll teach students to talk about current issues," said Ondrejka, "because the goal is to bring the right people to the table to talk about the right issues."