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In early 2020, Cat Sartino was a graduate student in Indiana University’s Master of Science in Healthcare Management (MSHM) program and in the middle of her student practicum experience with IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, she quickly transitioned into a full-time role within the hospital as an infection preventionist.
“I don’t think anyone could be prepared for what the past two years have been like,” Sartino said. “Healthcare management has been huge because every day during the pandemic, something new happened.”
Sartino credits the MSHM program for equipping her with the tools needed to face the next two years, working not only in the hospital setting but also directly with nursing staff who spent their days treating patients. In her leadership role, Cat worked daily to equip herself and her staff with the most updated guidance from the CDC, simultaneously making sure frontline workers felt heard and protected.
“As a healthcare leader, you can reach hundreds of people a day,” she said. “I just believe that every part of the program made me who I am as a leader today.”
The MSHM program is a prestigious and rigorous degree offered jointly between the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Kelley School of Business. A key component of the curriculum is the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, which stress the value of self-care and the importance of physical, emotional, and social well-being.
“We’ve created an environment where we are holistically taking care of the needs of the students,” said April Grudi, MSHM faculty program director and assistant clinical professor. “The MSHM program will not only give you the opportunity to learn the hard skills necessary to become a transformational healthcare leader, but the soft skills as well. We teach you how to be a leader who models self-care and work-life balance using the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.”
The MSHM program prepares students to become the next generation of healthcare leaders, incorporating the need for self-care to best administer patient and staff care. During the uncertainty and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sartino relied on her education, which taught her how to be self-disciplined, the importance of time management, and how to be away from work when you’re at home.
“If I can’t take care of myself, how am I supposed to take care of patients?” Sartino said. “The Eight Dimensions of Wellness have been the key to my success for survival through this pandemic, and I’ve actually been able to share that with my team members because a lot of people don’t know how to care for themselves.”
MSHM curriculum is delivered in a hybrid and online format and includes two semesters of leadership experience in a healthcare setting. In addition, an executive track is available for those with at least four years of professional experience. The program features 14 nationally recognized certifications and includes a focus on wellness.
“This is the top of our game, and I do feel like we are making a difference on the nursing units, and I feel like we are making a difference with our patients,” Sartino said. “The MSHM program prepared me for this role.”