Life after Barry University has been both busy and rewarding for Heidi Hernandez, ’14.
Since graduating with a dual master’s in Public Health and Health Administration from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, she’s embarked on a journey that’s given her the real world experience she was looking for. That experience was due, in part, to what Hernandez learned at Barry University.
“One of the greatest challenges in life, post-graduate school, is navigating through the industry without any previous health care experience. Barry University prepared me with the skillset I needed to launch my career,” says Hernandez. “I was very drawn to the public health aspect of the program, and I had great mentors as well. There were some bumps in the road before deciding what to do.”
Those “bumps in the road” did not deter Hernandez, who wasted no time after graduation. She earned and quickly started an Administrative Fellowship with Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County, Fla. The Fellowship began in August 2014 and lasted for one year. During that time, she experienced the many facets of the health care system, including rotating throughout six hospitals assisting with corporate and support services that comprise the system.
She also took part in the 2016 fiscal year budget review sessions, attended weekly executive staff and administrative team meetings in each hospital, and participated in select projects at the hospital and system level, such as market share analysis for specific programs.
Hernandez’s leadership skills in the Fellowship program paid off. A month after finishing the Fellowship she was hired as an associate project manager with Memorial Healthcare System.
“One of the reasons I was drawn to health care administration was that I’m able to enact change on a much grander scale. This is what I find most gratifying about the career path that I chose,” she says.
In addition to her current role as a project manager, Hernandez devotes a lot of time volunteering for several community organizations, which includes: serving as a member of the American Healthcare Executive Forum; active member of the Women’s Healthcare Executive Network; advisory board member for the Paralegal Studies Program at Broward College; assisting the Hollywood Chamber with coordinating Health Day for the Leadership Program Chapter; and serving as a member of Epsilon Phi Delta Society.
While Hernandez is thankful for where her education has taken her, the path that lies ahead is one that she is still contemplating.
“I’m not sure yet,” she says of her future. “It was time for me to jump into the workforce and get experience. I really enjoy project management, but one goal would be to get into hospital operations.”