Justin Riley, Graduate Admissions Director for the George Washington University’s (GW) online Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Health Care Quality offers tips and admissions insights for potential students.
Who is the ideal candidate for GW’s online master’s in Health Care Quality program?
Candidates must have an undergraduate degree in a health-related discipline. Our candidates are typically in the healthcare field and have experience in healthcare quality, administration, or informatics.
Many students are working professionals and hold formal roles as clinicians, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, administrators, and more. While they come to the program with a broad range of backgrounds, they all share a passion for healthcare quality to ensure hospitals are operating within the realm of compliance, while looking to advance their careers in the field.
In your opinion, why should students pursue a master’s degree in health care quality?
Healthcare quality is an emerging field fueled by a heightened awareness that organizations must adhere to regulations regarding patient care and safety. Hospitals need an on-site expert to ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible, without compromising quality or safety.
We also see a growing demand for people with a degree in healthcare quality versus other health related degrees, because few people have the credentials and background to monitor the quality of healthcare at a facility. For students who have earned an advanced degree in healthcare quality, their résumé has a greater opportunity of standing out to employers.
What qualities and skills are needed to succeed in this field?
Healthcare quality leaders require strong problem-solving, analytical, team management, and communication skills. They must have the ability to lead complex projects by effectively communicating tasks and objectives to team members.
They are the individuals who are communicating the organization’s vision to staff. They often develop department objectives, implement performance standards based on hospital policies, assess safety risk factors, conduct audits, and serve on quality assurance committees. Their role, though, goes beyond identifying issues that may hinder performance. They are creating and implementing the solutions as well.
What sets GW’s MSHS in Health Care Quality program apart from other similar programs?
Many of our candidates have on-the-job experience, but they lack a formal education of the theoretical concepts associated with healthcare quality. In our program, they learn the why, what, and how of assessing, monitoring, and implementing healthcare quality. Students investigate the role of regulations, policies, and stakeholders; learn how to evaluate data sources; master the tools associated with risk assessment and much more.
Also, GW’s location in the heart of Washington, D.C., where much of public policy is created, gives students unparalleled access to professionals who are impacting healthcare policy today.
Lastly, our curriculum includes challenging courses with real-life application, such as Topics in Health Care Leadership, which focuses on honing the critical thinking skills needed to enact change within an organization’s established culture.
What are some of the professional and personal rewards of being a healthcare quality leader?
Leaders in healthcare quality enter the field because they want to help patients. They have a strong desire to play a role in setting policies and making sure that hospitals keep quality and safety at the forefront. They want to ensure that hospitals comply with regulations so that no patient is left behind. At the end of the day, it’s all about making a difference when it comes to overall patient safety and quality at an organization.
What are the benefits of an online master’s degree program?
An online master’s degree program offers candidates the flexibility to juggle their roles as busy working professionals, students, and, in some cases, parents. A traditional classroom environment doesn’t provide this flexibility.
With an online program, students can complete their coursework whenever it’s convenient for them—morning, nights, weekends, lunch breaks at work. In other words, they can fit their education around their life rather than trying to fit their life around their education.
GW’s online students have access to healthcare quality leaders from around the globe and can share their own real-life work experiences with peers nationwide. Students enjoy GW’s trimester schedule, meaning courses start three times throughout the year. Most candidates complete the 36-credit program in as little as two to three years, giving them the edge to take advantage of new professional opportunities as soon as possible.
For more information on the George Washington University’s online Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Health Care Quality, contact the request information or call to speak with an admissions advisor.