BUIES CREEK - With the number of health care-related jobs in North Carolina at more than 460,000, Campbell University’s Healthcare Management program was born from a need rather than a luxury.
Classes for the program in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business began in the spring of 2011, making Campbell one of the few universities in the state to be accredited by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.
And the program differs from others in North Carolina because it is under the umbrella of a business school, rather than a school of health sciences, according to School of Business Dean Ben Hawkins.
“Since the curriculum includes many required business administration related courses like accounting and business law, in addition to the Healthcare Management classes, the program fits more of the business base,” said Hawkins, who said the program was added because of “the need for jobs in that particular field.”
Classes began last spring under the direction of Dr. LeJon Poole, who received his BA from Samford University as well as a MBA and PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
A student majoring in Healthcare Management will receive a BBA upon graduation and may double major with another program in the business school, or they may dual enroll with the 3+2 program to receive a BBA in health care management and an MBA in five years. Additionally, the program requires seniors to complete an internship, which gives students work experience in the health care-related field.
Among the numerous possibilities of internships, the School of Business partners with Duke Health in Raleigh, and the V.A. hospital in Fayetteville.
“Currently, there are 21 health care management majors enrolled in the program,” said April Paszkiewicz, the admissions and retention coordinator for the School of Business.
Twenty-four additional students have been accepted into the program for the fall semester of 2012, and there are 68 additional students who have turned in an application into the program and are waiting for a decision.
Paszkiewicz also noted the new program is attracting current BBA students.
“The program does receive a lot of attention from current business majors, and many of the 21 (students enrolled) were formerly some other major in the LFSB before joining the HCM program,” she said.
One such student is Kalyn Owen, a senior from Angier who is double majoring in Healthcare Management and marketing, which is also a relatively new program at Campbell. Owen came to Campbell as a business administration major, but she wanted to focus her studies on something more specific.
“Campbell has hired professors for both majors that offer a lot of insight on real world issues,” she said. “Since the programs are new, there are not a lot of students in my upper level classes, which has made it easier to gain strong friendships with most of my classmates.”
Owen said the small classroom size makes it “comfortable and allows students to tell more about their own opinion.”
She added that her internship helped her to gain valuable communication skills and important leadership attributes that supplemented her classroom education. Upon graduation in May, she aspires to become a pharmaceutical sales representative and wants to continue her education with a Masters degree
Sarah McCain, a Healthcare Management sophomore from Garner, said she, unlike Owen, entered Campbell not sure of what she was going to do. But after taking a semester of business classes, she said she realized her passion was to become a missionary.
In order to find a right path that would prepare her to help people overseas, McCain took classes in social work, religion, education and in communications, but none of these appealed to her. She then decided to try out the health care management program.
After attending her first class, she felt that this career field focused on providing quality health care to patients everywhere.
“I felt comfortable choosing a major in Healthcare Management, because I have the power to impact health care here, and possibly in other countries for the better,” McCain said.
She said the internship possibilities in are many, and there is flexibility in what a student chooses, whether local or abroad. She is hoping to intern at clinics in Tanzania in the coming years. She believes that the program allows students to have broader career choices unlike several other majors.
Additionally McCain said health care management is an ideal major for people who enjoy the health care field but do not want to specifically become a nurse, doctor or become specialized in a practice.
Hawkins foresees the program to have from 70 to 80 students with an average of 20 graduates per year. Additionally, Healthcare Management will continue to attract students from a wide range of majors from accounting to biology.
“It’s exciting to know that you are shaping the future of Campbell’s Healthcare Management program,” McCain said. “Essentially, we are the pioneers that will give this program its name, and we take on that responsibility with excitement.”
Story by Jonathan Bridges, Campbell University Communications Department intern