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Aleison Garel, Master of Health Services Administration, 2023

by Monica Smith

Dec 08, 2022, 12:00 PM.

A graduate student with an IT background looks for a career change with a master’s degree in health services administration.
Aleison Garel
Aleison Garel

Leadership and management were two things that Aleison Garel really wanted to learn more about—especially within healthcare facilities. The FIU alumna completed her master’s degree in IT in 2015 but was looking for something more to change her career path. Already working for FIU in IT, Garel set her sights on healthcare and enrolled as a graduate student in FIU’s hybrid  Master of Health Services Administration.

With a 50/50 blend of coursework online and face-to-face courses, the fast-track hybrid program, which can be completed in just 18 months, fits her personal needs, and allows her to continue working.

In the following interview, Garel shares what her program has been like as she gains the skills needed to pursue a second career that marries healthcare with IT.

When do you graduate?

I’m going to be graduating in summer 2023.

Where do you work now? What do you do?

I am a program accreditation assistant for the Health Services Administration Department. Previously, I was a senior help desk analyst for the division of IT at FIU.

What has been your favorite class and why?

Leadership and Organizational Behavior in Health Care Systems taught by Dr. Kellen Hassel. I enjoy Dr. Hassell's method of teaching; he is very open. In his class, I was able to have engaging discussions on leadership strategies and how to apply them in the healthcare environment. So, that gave me a great sense of validation and encouragement.

What immediately applicable skills have you learned? With Dr. Hassell's course, we had to write a reflective research paper on our leadership experience in the workplace. I wrote it related to my IT experience. I was able to use the concepts from his course to lead other people. Without even knowing it, I was already leading organizational change and completing performance measurements in my tasks, so I really felt good about working on that paper and expressing myself. I learned transferable and applicable skills based on organization theory and concepts applied in healthcare organizational performance, as well as performance improvement measurement.

How does your degree help you in your work?

The MHSA program helps me effectively apply organizational leadership competencies and transition into the healthcare field , and I see how this training has helped me become more effective in my assignments, on the job and in the program that I'm doing.

This is a career shift for me. So, I want to be able to apply the knowledge, skills and concepts to any organization that I work with. I also will apply my abilities to the various projects that I'll be involved with, and the people I’ll collaborate with, sharing what I know and learning from them, as well.

Why did you decide to study this area and choose this program?

Healthcare is very relevant. I wanted to complete a program where I could learn healthcare and leadership concepts so that, in my career shift, I can play an essential role in creating and implementing policies for a more efficient and fair healthcare system, with better outcomes.

What is one thing you learned that you won’t forget?

I just completed a course named Management of Long-Term Care Systems and something I learned from this course, which I found very surprising, was that not all long-term care facilities are nursing homes. I previously believed that once reference was made to long-term care facilities, they were talking about nursing homes, but this is not the case. I think as healthcare administrators, it is imperative we know the difference.

Would you recommend this program to other students?

Oh, yes! Definitely. Anyone interested in pursuing a graduate-level healthcare administration, or healthcare management degree should consider FIU and most importantly the Master of Health Services Administration program.

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