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Honing Skills, Experience for Success in Health Care

UL Online -- Mon, 03/15/2021 - 12:06pm

For Kyle Burnam, no two days look the same. 

As the administrative program coordinator for Tulane University Campus Health, Burnam has pivoted from arranging meetings to organizing COVID-19 testing clinics and back again. 

Juggling the many aspects of his role, especially during a pandemic, has required a range of knowledge as well as excellent time- and project-management skills — all of which he developed through the online bachelor’s in Health Services Administration at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Aiming to Lead

Burnam began pursuing a career in health care by enrolling in UL Lafayette’s nursing program. However, he felt drawn outside the realm of patient care. Photo of Kyle Burnam in his red commencement gown

When he learned about the online health services administration program — also in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences — he knew it was a perfect fit. 

“I was looking for something that was still in the health care field but more through an administrative lens,” he says. “That's what made me choose the HSA as my major.”

To prepare students to manage medical and health services and operations, the health services administration program introduces students to medical terminology and health information systems before exploring leadership, policy, and technology. 

By the time students earn their degrees, they’ve completed courses in finance, management, health care, and health information technology in addition to their core health services administration courses.

Gaining Experience

Health services administration also emphasizes practical experience through internship experiences. Burnam took advantage of multiple opportunities, serving as a community relations intern at Blue Cross Blue Shield before connecting with a nonprofit to focus on non-clinical case management.

Faculty actively coordinate with clinics, nonprofits, and hospitals across the region to place students in relevant roles.

He says earning his degree online meant he could invest more time in those experiences, building his network and gaining insight into how to shape his career.

“It was really cool being able to go from a corporation to a nonprofit and learn the ins and outs of both of those,” he says. “I really liked being able to have some professional experiences that really helped me during interview processes and made my resume stand out.”

Staying Connected

While he developed the practical knowledge and skills needed for a career in health care administration, Burnam also honed other critical skills that are serving him well in his role as program coordinator.

Online learning requires motivation and self-direction to complete course tasks on time while balancing other courses, work, and personal priorities. 

Burnam took a week-by-week approach. Each Sunday, he would look at his assignments for that week to keep track of upcoming deadlines. If he got stuck, he says, he always had someone to call: Dr. Rachel Ellison, Health Services Administration program coordinator.

“She was easy to reach out to for questions even if you had other instructors during the semester,” he says. “I could call her to get clarification or just ask questions about HSA. That was one of my favorite aspects of the program, just how easy it was to reach out to Dr. Ellison.”

If you’re interested in joining the rapidly growing health care field, apply today to our online Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration program.