From nurse to healthcare leader: my MBA journey in Healthcare Management
MBA International Healthcare Management / 1 November 2023
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MBA International Healthcare Management Class of 2025
Francisco is a registered nurse in Germany and Portugal with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a postgraduate degree in Health Quality Management. He is currently working in Germany as a Nurse Shift Supervisor for Heidelberg University as he continues his journey in MBA International Healthcare Management at Frankfurt School.

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Words are still not enough to describe the first module of my MBA International Healthcare Management programme at Frankfurt School. Personally, it has really been a life-changing experience. Being lectured by renowned experts on relevant healthcare subjects like Accounting, Finance and Health Economics has really been an eye-opener and an exceptional starting point for aspiring healthcare leaders.

A new journey: Frankfurt School

The first two days at Frankfurt School, working on team building and intercultural exchange, were an extremely rich and powerful experience. We were firstly very well welcomed by the programme director, Annette Wright and academic director, Prof. Rainer Sibbel. Lots of different backgrounds and cultural perspectives ensured plenty of room for thought and discussion on how we contemplate the world we live in.

In this short period of time, Prof. Erich Barthel performed an excellent job metamorphosing a random group of strangers and connecting them through both their similarities and differences. At the end of these two fulfilling days, I am confident every single one of us got the feeling of togetherness that will certainly accompany the group for the next two years of the programme.

Getting to know Financial Accounting in the Healthcare sector

We then directly emerged in the complex yet tangible world of accounting. With members of the group mostly coming from the care-providing healthcare sector, it was fundamental to understand how the numbers can determine and influence the success or failure of the business. The proficient and quick-witted Prof. Dieter Hess was the man in charge, and he guided us through important subjects like the Main Financial Statements, Basic Accounting Principles, Financial Ratio Analysis and, finally, Cost and Management Accounting. These topics provided the group with an important outlook on the relevance of accounting while simultaneously foreseeing Module 2, where Financial Management will be of great significance.

Prof. Sibbel had, in the subsequent days, the complex task of introducing the group to multiple healthcare systems around the world. We were lectured on various healthcare systems using the very complex and senior German healthcare system as a benchmark of comparison between all of them. Even though most of the group members exercise their profession within their own healthcare systems, it was astonishing to get to know the various governmental approaches and decisions needed to build such a complex and intricate organisation. The enormous number of resources spent on healthcare and how the numbers influence both the economic and the healthcare-related outcomes was just as bewildering.

Health Economics

Current demographic changes leading to higher life expectancy and the advances in technology and research are putting a higher strain on sometimes already volatile and fragile healthcare systems. Like in any business, having a grasp of the organisational structure and management is crucial for addressing their issues efficiently. Failing to implement proactive changes can lead to substantial costs, emphasising the need for a forward-thinking approach. Healthcare is indeed one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries, representing over 10 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in most developed nations.

The latter element of this first module was Health Economics, taught by Prof. Afschin Gandjour. Here, we got to understand how each type of system can financially survive and reimburse itself while employing various economic strategies. It is fascinating to comprehend how the implementation of healthcare political policies is deeply linked with the number of resources each country has available. Just as interesting but at the same time extremely controversial was the matter of healthcare investment efficiency.

There, we were baffled by facts that made us reflect on our personal practice and contemplate upon the age limit for which it remains economically viable to invest in extending human life while simultaneously evaluating the collective advantages for the broader population, particularly in situations of limited resources. The ex libris of Module 1 were the group presentations. These were extremely enriching and provided insight into various healthcare systems around the world and on ethical concerns regarding our healthcare practice.

Life changing experience

On a personal level, this first module has been a whirlwind of learning, growth and inspiration. The journey from a nursing perspective towards pursuing a healthcare-based MBA is a transformative one, driven by a deep commitment to improving healthcare systems and patient outcomes. The combination of clinical expertise and future business education provides a unique vantage point to address the complex challenges facing healthcare organisations and equips professionals with the knowledge, skills and strategic vision to not only provide high-quality patient care but also to lead and shape the future of healthcare.

With the healthcare landscape constantly evolving, the role of nurse leaders is increasingly vital in driving innovation, optimising resources and ultimately delivering better healthcare to the population. Embracing this journey empowers nursing professionals to be change agents, driving the industry toward a brighter, more patient-centred future. So, to all those considering this path, know that your journey as a healthcare leader, born from a nursing perspective, holds the potential to make a profound and lasting impact on the world of healthcare.