A good education can help you land a good job. And a good job may prompt you to seek additional education.

Both those statements ring true for Cody Bohm, a 31-year-old nurse and father of four who lives in Minnesota. In spring 2015, he enrolled in Capella University’s Master’s in Health Administration program, hoping to learn more about leadership. This fall, he accepted a new job as an Emergency Center Associate Patient Care Manager at Park Nicollet-Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis. The timing was no coincidence.

“The new position is very different from my previous roles. It’s about 10% bedside nursing and 90% leadership,” Bohm says. “That’s what I was looking for—more leadership experience.”

 

Lots of factors go into hiring decisions, but Bohm’s new employer was likely impressed that he had taken the initiative to expand and deepen his skill set with additional education. Prompted to get into health care after both of his parents passed away of cancer, Bohm earned a nursing degree at a college in Iowa and worked as a staff nurse at a Minneapolis hospital for two years before switching to a brand new hospital in suburban Maple Grove in 2009. Launching the new operation gave him insight into the administrative side of health care: he helped develop new policies and procedures—and he liked the process.

“I decided I wanted to go beyond being a staff or charge nurse,” Bohm says. “I thought about becoming an anesthesiologist or nurse practitioner, but it all kind of came down to the leadership aspect. That’s what I was looking for.”

 

In March, he started his first class at Capella, with tuition assistance from his employer. Balancing fatherhood with classes hasn’t been easy, he admits. “It’s a battle,” he says. “But once you’ve developed a system and figured it out, everything falls into place. I’m finding little ways to make it work.”

It’s paying off, too. His coursework has shed fresh light on several aspects of his chosen profession. Readings and discussions have, for example, touched on government regulations like HIPAA, the federal law that protects patient privacy. Such background has given him a foundational knowledge of the principles and practices that underlie basic HIPAA procedures. “Now I know why we do something a particular way, versus just doing it,” Bohm says.

The tools that Capella provides to students have also impressed Bohm. “The amount of resources that are just a couple of screens away is amazing. Once you’ve figured it out, it’s very simple and user-friendly. Downloading a book onto your computer is much more convenient than having to go to a bookstore or even look it up online. It flows very nicely.”

 

When a former colleague mentioned a new job opening at Methodist this past summer, Bohm decided to apply. The new position would allow him to gain additional experience in hiring, staff development, performance management and evaluation, discipline, improving patient care, measuring outcomes, and more. Bohm submitted his resume and—after four interviews lasting six hours in all—got an offer.

The master’s degree will be important to growing future career opportunities, Bohm believes. “I want to advance in my own leadership role as well as advance the careers of others who are doing great nursing work,” he says. “My goal isn’t necessarily to be a health care CEO. But, hey, if it happens, that’s cool.”

 

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