Health Care UST MBA
Meet Darla Morris-Preble
In 1983 I graduated from Rochester Community College with an associate of science degree. Off to “save the world,” I accepted a job at Mercy Hospital where I worked in numerous areas until 1996, including the surgical floor, cardiac step down unit and the intensive care unit. My roles varied: staff nurse, charge nurse, case manager, assistant head nurse and co-developer of a specialty care unit. Along the way, I returned to school and, in 1991, received a bachelor of science in nursing from Bethel College.
At the present time, I work with Specialists In General Surgery. This is a general surgical practice that works exceedingly hard. Geographically, we cover a multitude of places: Buffalo, Coon Rapids, St. Anthony, Fridley, Monticello, Plymouth, Maple Grove and Robbinsdale. This makes the practice both exciting and challenging.
When I began the Health Care UST MBA program I was transitioning from office manager and nurse clinician to office administrator with some budget accountability. I found the program of great assistance as my administrative responsibilities increased. The strategic planning, budgeting, marketing, ethics, and business values—along with the continuous networking opportunities St. Thomas provides—were and remain priceless resources.
Initially I chose St. Thomas because it was highly recommended by previous students and mentors. Its structure provided the learning environment that not only allowed enhanced professional learning and networking, but the flexibility to maintain my family’s schedule. One of the things I found most valuable in the distance learning format was the threaded discussion—a place you can post your questions, concerns and stories and get feedback from the group.
As a student in the program, I came to appreciate the other elements that make the Health Care UST MBA unique. The constant interaction with the program staff and the personalized attention they gave me were key. The program is not content with the status quo. Both the program staff and the faculty constantly asked for input from students and USED it! The interaction between physicians and administrators was very interesting—the program provides a safe environment to explore different perspectives. The physicians in my cohort were key leaders, so a great resource.
One of the more helpful courses was the marketing course. In my clinic, marketing used to be a taboo subject—something only primary caregivers did. Yet talking about best practices in other industries really helped demonstrate the importance of effective marketing in our clinic. Now marketing is a permanent agenda item in our leadership meetings.
As time passes, I utilize different parts of the program. Now that I’m in a truly administrative position, I find myself going back continually to what I learned and discussed in class and having those “a-ha” moments that others in the cohort were having at the time.