Health care management classes prep students for business side of medical fields

UNK Health Care Management students, clockwise from left, Shelby Chapelle of Lincoln, graduate Kent Schmer of Brule and Kelly Messbarger of Kearney present research in December at CHI Health Good Samaritan. The health care management minor was first offered at UNK in the fall of 2014. There are currently 28 students with the minor. (Photos courtesy of Anna Fryda/CHI Health)
UNK Health Care Management students, clockwise from left, Shelby Chapelle of Lincoln, graduate Kent Schmer of Brule and Kelly Messbarger of Kearney present research in December at CHI Health Good Samaritan. The health care management minor was first offered at UNK in the fall of 2014. There are currently 28 students with the minor. (Photos courtesy of Anna Fryda/CHI Health)

By SARA GIBONEY
UNK Communications

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s health care management minor offers specialized training in management for future health care professionals.

In a partnership between the Health Sciences Program and Management Department in the College of Business and Technology, new classes in health care management were developed to meet students’ needs.

Fleig-Palmer-Michelle 2
Michelle Fleig-Palmer

“It’s so important that we understand changes in the marketplace in terms of products and services that are being offered, but also in terms of the skills that students need to be effective employees. Those changes are happening rapidly,” said Michelle Fleig-Palmer, associate professor of business management.

“Twenty years ago, no one ever worried about clinicians having business backgrounds. But when we look at the changes in the financing of health care, and we look at the fact that practices are becoming larger, there are more complexities that make having a business background necessary.”

The health care management minor was first offered in the fall of 2014. There are currently 28 students with the minor at UNK.

Classes include Health Care Management I and II, Medical Terminology and Health Care Economics. Students are required to take the core classes in health care management and 14 hours of elective classes.

“Students are able to tailor the electives based on their interest. If you’re going into dentistry or chiropractic care, you’re probably going to be running your own business. So entrepreneurship classes are more important. If you are going to be a doctor, you’re probably going to work in a clinic or hospital. So business law becomes more important for you. We’ve made the minor flexible to meet the needs of the students,” Fleig-Palmer said.

A new class, Healthcare Delivery Systems and Policies, is also being offered. The class will cover the basics of health insurance, history of health care in the United States and health care laws.

Fleig-Palmer said research is an important aspect of health care management classes. Students complete research projects based on their area of interest in the health care system.

Research topics from the fall 2015 semester included supplement use for athletes, music therapy for dementia, reduction of waste in hospital laboratories through recycling, overcoming language barriers in health care and the importance of gift shops in hospitals.

“For years, local healthcare practitioners have indicated to our students that a background in business or management would have been beneficial in their professional careers.  Our students will now have the opportunity to take these courses and enter the healthcare workforce better prepared,” said Peg Abels, director of health programs at UNK.

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Source: Michelle Fleig-Palmer, 308.865.8869, fleigpalmerm@unk.edu
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu

One thought on “Health care management classes prep students for business side of medical fields

  1. With 35+ years of medical clinic ownership and 37 years in clinical practice, I’d be happy to be a guest speaker to a health care business management class sometime. I’m presently enrolled at UNK in the MBA program. There is much to share from experience. Kindest regards, Steve Engen

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