Student Spotlight

Nurses speed up careers with MBAs from Brandman

September 12, 2016
Coleen Barron

Coleen Barron

When you think of nursing, you think of the person who takes care of you in the hospital, checks your vital signs, makes you comfortable after surgery or alerts doctors to any unexpected medical complications. But with the healthcare field facing rapid changes, some nurses want to learn about the business side of healthcare and earn advanced degrees. Their goal is to move into administrative roles. That’s exactly what nurses Coleen Barron and Lescia Myers did. They earned MBAs at Brandman University’s campus in Lacey, Washington.

“Typically, we get promoted for our nursing skills,” said Barron. “But it’s great to learn about building teams, how to deal with different types of people and expand our financial knowledge.”

“The industry is changing,” said Myers. “We need to know the financial and human resources side, in addition to knowing how to take care of people.”

Barron graduated with her MBA in December 2015. She’s now the clinical nurse manager for the Cardiovascular ICU at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, a position Myers held before her. Myers also graduated with her MBA, and after taking a break from a leadership role in nursing for a year and a half, she’s now the nurse manager for the Palliative Care Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington.

“I say that I was in leadership and I fell off the wagon,” said Myers. “I found that I missed that role, so I got back on the wagon with my new position.”

Lescia Myers

Lescia Myers

Barron believes the knowledge gained through Brandman’s MBA program is invaluable to her success in her new role. “I am learning every day,” she said. “In fact, I would feel capable even if I moved out of nursing to move into a field to use my MBA.”

Barron and Myers earned their degrees as part of a group of seven from MultiCare, who were awarded a corporate partnership scholarship. Being part of a core group helped them be successful.

“All of my schooling to that point had been about healthcare,” said Myers. “It seemed a little intimidating to take business courses, but with the support of the group and the Brandman faculty, it was hard but not as impossible as I thought it might be.”

Barron agrees. “Even if we were feeling overwhelmed with classes, our jobs, and keeping up with family, we roped each other in again,” she said. “It helped that we could see each other at work and hold each other accountable.”

Brandman’s hybrid program of both online and in-person classes helped Barron and Myers navigate the coursework. Classes met in-person one night a week, with discussion and assignments completed online. They said instructors clearly outlined expectations upfront, so students knew what they needed to do to complete their degree.

Getting their MBA’s with a group of other nurses has other benefits, too, such as building a network at other hospitals. “Even now, I have connections at other hospitals in the area,” said Myers. “It’s great to have those relationships.”

“We made friends along the way in other organizations,” said Barron. “It’s great to finish strong.”

Brandman’s MBA program now has a health administration emphasis. Learn more.

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