We sat down with Dr. Clare Holt, programme leader for our Executive MBA in Healthcare Management about her professional background, what makes this course unique, and how professionals can apply the skills gained from undertaking our hospital management course.
What was your background prior to becoming a programme leader?
Before becoming programme leader, I was teaching leadership and change across a range of public sector organisations. This included various NHS Trusts, advising on patient safety and effective communication. Other public sector organisations such as HMRC, the College of Policing, and local government. Before I completed my PhD (Relational Leadership and engagement) and joined the world of academia, I worked in Air Traffic Control in the UK (NATS Ltd). I worked as an aerodrome controller at a variety of airports along with Heathrow and London Farnborough. This role included being a risk assessor and unit investigator, which is where my interest came from understanding the toxic culture of blame and how it can be addressed by considering a Just Culture; an effective, yet compassionate leadership, and open/honest working relationships.
How can students apply the knowledge gained from the Healthcare Management programme to their daily practice?
I’m a true believer that academic theories and concepts can help all of us make sense of reality. I see my role as an academic tutor assisting students in bridging the gap between what is abstract, conceptual and theoretical, being able to apply these to very real practical situations. The programme is designed to do this within each module by building these theories over the 6 weeks into real examples and experiences, with plenty of reflection on what works and doesn't work for each student. This is where I’m a believer that the learning is all about the student creating their own personalised patchwork of theories and ideas. The knowledge gained also gives students the confidence to understand reality and enables them to communicate upward more effectively; giving students a language to formalise what is happening and how to lead confidently.
Do you recommend any website or research tools for students?
There is so much information out there! It also depends on what research individuals are planning on undertaking. This is where for leadership, I recommend considering a good business research book to give the basics of the variety of methodologies that can be used. From this first step, it’s then possible to hone searches on the internet and understand what’s relevant to what you’re looking to research. One of my favourite approaches to research in leadership is the power of narrative analysis - allowing participants to tell their own ‘story’. But this can be an onerous way to collate data! This is due to the amount of information that can be shared and therefore time to analyse it effectively in line with clear objectives can be time-consuming.
What makes studying a Executive MBA in Healthcare Management course different at Learna | Diploma MSc?
It is 100% online - this can be daunting for some, nonetheless, what I’ve observed is that cohesion between students actually builds more quickly with so much open and honest learning shared. Some do miss the in-person interaction, however, this way of learning allows those with less confidence to express themselves more comprehensively without some of the inhibitions that go along with face-to-face learning. Another advantage is that it can be done from anywhere (as long as you have a wifi signal!) - on your laptop, your tablet, or your iPhone. This grants huge amounts of flexibility around when you can study and contribute to the online discussions. There’re no fixed times for lectures or seminars - it can all be done when it suits you, meaning that there is an opportunity for international healthcare students to join the programme, from different time zones. This brings another interesting element to the learning experience along with it being an accredited programme with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM).
What advice would you give to someone considering undergoing a our Executive MBA in Healthcare Management?
All postgraduate studying is challenging. It’s not meant to be easy - if it was, then everyone would have one! Some do struggle with work/home/study balance, but with good time management, it’s achievable. The best way to do this is to allocate time slots each week when you’re going to sit down and undertake the work/reading/posting. With the advantage of it being all online, there is also the opportunity to do some of this whilst on a break - maybe 20 mins of reading to escape a difficult situation at work, experience a change of pace, or maybe read something that is very relevant to what you are experiencing currently. Persistence, resilience and commitment is what will get you through the course - it’s only 12-18 months of your life - the sense of achievement and opportunities that open upon completion of an Executive MBA in Healthcare Management guaranteed to make it all worth it.