As the Manager of Patient Services at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Sara Beal has a lot on her plate. She manages three RN case managers, four social work case managers and a nursing home program that employs contracted and full-time physicians and nurse practitioners. Just two years ago, Sara had never managed anyone in her life. “I went from being a co-worker of everyone in my department to being the manager. I wondered how I could maintain friendships with my employees and yet still be their leader.”
Sara’s situation is common in hospitals across Indiana. “Health care is very good about taking great clinicians and moving them into management without giving them the requisite training to be good managers,” says Sara Johnson, director of Executive Education at SPEA IUPUI. “We have a gap to fill when it comes to promoting people into management. The Management Institute has helped fill that gap.”
In 1990, IHA partnered with SPEA at IUPUI to create the IHA Management Institute. For a quarter century, the IHA Management Institute has provided IHA members with health care-specific management training. The 10-course program lasts approximately six months, with daylong classes that meet once every three weeks on the IUPUI campus. When students complete nine of the 10 courses, they are designated a Certified Health Care Manager.
For graduates like Sara Beal, the benefits of the IHA Management Institute extend beyond certification.
“One big goal I had going into the program was to obtain knowledge on how to manage different generations of employees,” Beal remembers. “Tom DeCoster presented on four generations of health care employees, and that course gave me a better idea of what my staff needed from me in order for me to be an effective leader.”
IHA Management Institute courses range from Building Successful Teams to Conflict Resolution to Managing in a Changing Work Environment. IHA President and CEO Doug Leonard and other members of the Management Institute Advisory Board meet regularly to ensure the curriculum is up to date and addresses the needs of IHA members.
“SPEA has been really great to work with,” Leonard says. “They have excellent faculty and have been really open to making sure we’re keeping the classes contemporary and consistent with emerging management challenges.”
Linda White, CEO of Deaconess Health System, has been sending employees to the IHA Management Institute for the better part of two decades.
“Most of the employees return from the Institute inspired to take on additional responsibility,” White says. “They also become some of the strongest ambassadors as we recruit and select additional people to attend the seminars. It’s a major time commitment, but we look at it as a true investment in our people.”
Kevin Strahan, regional manager at Meridian Health Services, was able to apply what he learned throughout his time at the IHA Management Institute immediately.
“I’ve recommended the program to people because I was able to take practical tools away from the experience that I could use the very next day at work,” Strahan says. “Interview techniques, time management tools, when to focus on important tasks—I still use a lot of the lessons I learned at the Management Institute.”
“Leadership is a never-ending journey,” says Sara Johnson. “And, given the fact that the attendees of the Management Institute represent organizations that serve so many communities, great leadership is very important.”
As the IHA Management Institute celebrates its first 25 years, it will continue to adapt to the changing needs of health care managers and provide leadership development opportunities for IHA members.
“We’ve talked about expanding the Institute, and there might be some more audience-specific derivations in the future,” Leonard says. “We continue to stay firmly committed to the Management Institute.”
This story originally appeared in the fall 2015 issue of Harmony magazine.