Strategic Planning and Marketing for Health Care Student Essays

HPA Students Consider Their Professional Potential in I Believe Essays

In her Strategic Planning and Marketing for Health Services class (HPA 455), Dr. Teta Barry asked her students to explore their personal beliefs. Health care management is a relationship business. Therefore, successful managers not only know about the health care system, but first and foremost, good managers know who they are inside. Based on the popular NPR radio show This I Believe, this assignment asked students to describe the core values that guide their daily lives and nourish their professional potential.

Sample Student Essays

From Valerie McEvoy, HPA senior

I Believe in Embracing People’s Differences

What if everyone you met was exactly alike? They shared the same interests, acted the same way, spoke the same way, and had similar thoughts. How mundane and uninspiring would our world be? Differences in people are important and should be appreciated. I feel very strongly about embracing people’s differences, because my older sister is different from almost everyone I know.

Rachel was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and other associated disorders, at one year of age. She cannot read, and she now works part-time in a community based workshop. Rachel has distinctive facial features that set her apart from others, such as an upturned nose, widely spaced and crooked teeth, a broad forehead, and a wide mouth with full lips. She also has very unique personality traits. For example, she is extremely outgoing and overly friendly with strangers, has attention deficit disorder (ADD), and suffers from severe anxieties from dogs, sirens, and dentist appointments, among others.

I am ashamed to admit that growing up I was embarrassed by my sister. Everywhere I went with Rachel, people would stare and whisper. They could not understand what was wrong with her and why she acted so differently. We attended the same school, and my fellow students often laughed at Rachel and made fun of my sister and the other children with special needs in Rachel’s learning disability class. I tried my best to avoid Rachel at school, often wishing I just had a normal older sister.

When I reached high school, something changed. I no longer felt embarrassed by Rachel, but instead began to feel lucky to have such an incredible and unique sister. I finally recognized all of the positive attributes that Rachel possesses, such as her happy disposition, her ability to make others laugh, and her passion for music. I felt nothing but love and empathy toward my sister.

Growing up with a sibling with special needs helped shape the person I am today. Rachel has taught me compassion and patience, kindness and supportiveness, insight into handling challenges, loyalty, and the acceptance of differences. She has truly made me a better person.

Too often people can be close-minded and judgmental. Our society tends to frown upon those who are different and do not fit in. Although not all people are as different from others as my sister, it is important to realize that everyone is different in their own ways and that this is a good thing! These differences set us apart and make us unique and special. We can learn so much from people who are different from us. I believe that everyone has something to offer and I believe in embracing people’s differences.

From Caylor Johnson, HPA senior

I Believe

I believe it’s the little things that matter. Life flies by you quickly, and sometimes with all the stresses and schedules of daily life it’s hard to take a moment to think about the little things. As a twenty-two year old, I ask myself where my last four years of college have gone, how I got to be in my twenties and where in the world I’m going to end up next. Too often it seems that my days are a race against the clock; classes, meetings, work, papers and studying. I’ve said I’m ready to move out, be independent, travel the world, whatever it is I want to do. But as I sit here I remember that my life is not just my to-do list and everything on it, it is every moment in between.

I want to remember autumn at home growing up, when my dad would light the fireplace and my brother would lay with my dogs on the dog bed. I want to remember the long phone calls with my mom during college when I would secretly get a little homesick and how I always loved when she called me her baby, even though I was twenty-two and the oldest of four. I want to remember how beautiful the stars in Costa Rica were that night when we laid on the top of our tour bus for hours. I want to remember my early Christmases with my father when I was younger and how he’d always force me to go hiking, and how I’d end up loving it. I want to remember how much my sister admired me when she was young, always sprinting outside when my car pulled up the driveway. I even want to remember my dusty college apartment and every memory and moment in it.

It’s hard sometimes, to put down the books or get out of bed and remember to take those moments. I am guilty of it, I must admit, telling my sister I’d play the board game with her later just because I wanted to nap. The thing is though, you won’t remember that nap 10 years from now, or that test or maybe even that day, but you might just remember that joke with your sister, that shooting star, or that long hike.

So take a moment, get out of bed, put down your phone, and think about the little things. Appreciate them, what you have, what you’ve lost, and everything in between. When we live life by the list we tend to forget what it is we live for. What is it that you want to remember when you’re older? Remember those snowflakes, the colors of that rainbow, the way your grandfather smiled when you surprised him at his house, because these are the things that make a difference in your life. These are the things I know I want to remember, and these are the shared moments that others will remember with you. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that leave the biggest impressions, that is why I truly believe it’s the little things that matter.

From Amanda Gresh, HPA senior

I believe that age is really just a number

Starting college I had no idea what I was going to major in. Penn State offers so many majors and focuses that it was difficult to decide at first. Finally I decided during my sophomore year that I was going to major in Health Policy and Administration. I had no idea of what focus I wanted to have within the major; I just knew that I had a knack for management and knowledge in health care.

Until one day I had the opportunity to teach older adults how to utilize technology and in particular the Skype program. I had used Skype since my freshman year to communicate with my family and friends while I was away at college. I knew how to use Skype well and I knew that there were residents at a continuing care retirement community that were interested in advancing their knowledge of Skype technology. I walked in thinking that this would be a huge generational difference barrier, that I would have a hard time teaching these older adults how to use even a computer. Soon after talking with these older adults, I found myself to be wrong.

These older adults had more technological devices than I own. After teaching these older adults how to use Skype to communicate with family and friends I had the pleasure of sharing conversations with them about their lives and wisdom that they have to share. It was at that point that I realized a career working with older adults is the direction I needed to take. I enjoyed the long term care environment, the older adults who lived there, the staff members, and the atmosphere that I was immersed in.

Spending time and hanging out with older adults really opened my eyes to a career in long term health care management. Sharing conversations with these older adults was like hanging out with friends, friends who are generations older than myself. I consider age to be just a number because there is a stereotype that older adults cannot use technology and are uninformed about current technologies. People have this idea that older adults do not want to understand changing technologies. This stereotype can cause older adults to feel like their autonomy is being taken away from them. Honestly, those older adults had as much knowledge if not more knowledge than me about technology and current issues occurring in today’s society.

It never seems to fail that I learn something new and exciting when I sit down and spend a moment of my time with an older adult. Sharing my experience just proves that age really is just a number and that with age comes wisdom and expertise. Wisdom is defined as having experiences and good judgment. The potential wisdom that I would learn from older adults has really drawn me to want to become a nursing home administrator. Although a majority of the time nursing home administrator’s work with staff members, I would like to make a difference by building relationships with my residents so I can experience reciprocity through their wisdom and knowledge they have to share. My career choice to become a nursing home administrator is a career that I am destined to have. It takes a special individual to work with older adults and I feel that my interest and passion to be with older adults will lead me to a successful career as a nursing home administrator.