Health care and business/finance seem like separate fields, but are they really?

Nurse and sponsored Capella University student Nacole Riccaboni sees a powerful opportunity for a career combining the two, and that’s why she’s pursuing an MBA. We caught up with her to learn more about her decision.

Q. Why an MBA?

A. As a bedside nurse, the MBA was something I’d always thought about because leadership was really focused on the budgets and financial aspects of health care. I understood those issues and wanted to learn more. For instance, if we only have funding for one X-ray machine, do we get an X-ray machine, or do we hire more nurses? How do you properly assess if increasing your workforce is going to help your community more than a new X-ray machine? Or if I want to start a diabetic program, in what community should we start? What county would see the biggest impact? Those are the types of questions I wanted to research.

That’s where my MBA comes in. I’m able to do financial ratios, look at the relevant data, create business plans, and determine the risk/reward of a decision. I want to be a part of a leadership team that is taking a deep dive into decision-making to drive positive health outcomes.

Q. How has the MBA program affected your clinical work?

A. This degree highlighted for me the financial aspect of the nurse practitioner role. There are some aspects of the nurse practitioner role that are based on reimbursement and copayment, and you have to make sure what you’re doing is in line with what your employer requires and also is truly effective for the patient population. As my patient numbers increase, I have to make sure that I’m giving each and every patient and family member their dedicated time. With that comes the necessity to be financially organized. I never thought my MBA would help me this much clinically, but it has helped me to organize my thoughts, improve my decision-making processes, develop my leadership skills and implementation, and last but not least, understand the accounting and budget aspect as a provider.

Q. What MBA class has helped your nursing practice the most?
A. I took an MBA class in leadership and teamwork that helped me understand how to motivate others. Whether it’s with bedside nurses or other colleagues, this class helped me to explain my viewpoint and articulate my thought processes better as a provider.

In this class, I also learned something about myself as just a human being in general. I found out that I sometimes interpret things with a little too much emotion, and that can be a deficit in the workplace. This leadership class helped me to see things on a calmer and more neutral level, which helps me clinically and in my personal life.

Q. What were some of your biggest learnings from the MBA program?

A. I learned so much about decision-making processes. In health care, it’s so important to look at outcomes before implementing a new protocol or procedure, even if the new protocol is based on a research study. Just because something is new doesn’t mean that it’s going to be effective, and the potential impact must be studied carefully. The MBA program has helped me to fine-tune my decision-making processes when they impact finances.

In a nutshell, I learned how business and health care go hand-in-hand.

Learn more about Capella University’s online MBA program.

Follow Nacole on her MBA journey, and tweet #FlexPath to ask her about her FlexPath experience.