Health Management: Helping as a profession
The healthcare industry is booming – and expectations on applicants are rising: Thanks to the insights into practice it provides, a dual degree is the perfect preparation for a career. A look into the everyday life of a student
As she stood at the German North Sea coast, Zlata Kenjar realised, all at once, just how important her work at home in Düsseldorf really was. The fresh sea breeze blew around her ears and behind her stood the Kurzentrum Carolinensiel, a medical health resort that is operated by the German Red Cross. “It is my role to plan the course of treatment for the patients, and I have done that since I started”, said the 24-year-old. “But it was only when I came to Carolinensiel in person that I was able to really imagine how people can relax here and leave their everyday lives behind them.”
Zlata Kenjar is sat at her desk in Düsseldorf, just a few steps away from the Volksgarten Park. The regional association of the German Red Cross operates a health resort on the North Sea coast and Zlata, a student, is assisting with administration. When she arrives at the office each morning, the corridors are still empty – “I like to start early at 7am, so that I can really concentrate on my work without phone calls interrupting me”, she says and laughs. Each morning, she has a stack of emails to work through, usually relating to patients that are going on a health cure. “Take a look”, she says and opens a computer programme. “All of their details are here: name, date of birth, health insurance company, doctor. There are also all of their diagnoses and the findings that we collect during our preliminary discussion.” Keeping these files up-to-date is one of Zlata’s central duties, as they are required by doctors to put together a suitable therapeutic course for patients. Even the allocation of the 56 apartments is planned in Düsseldorf, helping to reduce the workload of the staff on site.
The patients that Zlata Kenjar works with are not the typical clichéd elderly health resort guests. “Most of them are younger. We specialise in family visits”, she says. When mothers or fathers, for example, have been ill with cancer and now need time to recharge their batteries together with their families, Carolinensiel provides ideal facilities. Also, for those suffering psychosomatic illnesses, when parents are unable to retain full control of their life situation, a therapeutic visit to the North Sea resort can help greatly.
“I soon realised: Dual degree also means double the work”
Zlata Kenjar is studying Health Management at the IUBH. “I decided to go for a dual degree, where I switch between the college and the German Red Cross”, she says. She had known that she had wanted to go into the healthcare industry since studying for her final exams at school: “My mother works in a retirement home. I was fascinated by the way the background work is organised and operated.” Her dual degree will take three and a half years to complete to the bachelor level and she is about halfway through.
“The degree course started with three introduction days to help us get to know the campus”, she remembers. After that, she spent a week at the German Red Cross, undertaking a kind of shadowing exercise, to help her get to know the processes and her new colleagues. “Dual degree also means double the work”, she soon realised: With study phases both at the college and in the company, there is always something for her to do. However, there is never a time when the activities become monotonous – not least because her fellow students are active in so many different areas of the healthcare industry and every one of them has a lot of input to offer: “Friends of mine work in hospitals, doctors surgeries, dentists’ associations and even fitness studios and health spas”, she says. The curriculum that they are covering at the college is perfect preparation for all of these places of work – “a sensible mix of business administration and healthcare.” The billing systems for treatment are also a topic, along with the increasingly important legal questions about the healthcare system, as well as, naturally, medical questions. Zlata has learned the fundamentals about the human anatomy, she is familiar with the ICD- 10 Key, with which doctors make internationally understandable notes about diagnoses – and she has also focused on the important Latin medical terms, so that she always understands what doctors are talking about.
“Terms such as active and passive accounts were already familiar to me when I first came into contact with insurers here”
At her desk in the German Red Cross office in Düsseldorf, the busiest part of her day begins. The phone rings constantly and Zlata Kenjar has to constantly jump between two things: She is still working on administration for the health resort, but sometimes switches over to outpatient care – getting to know the most varied task areas is part of the concept of the dual degree. With outpatient care, where experts from the German Red Cross look after elderly patients, Zlata is also responsible for administration. “We operate the book- keeping and invoice the healthcare insurers here”, she says. Once again, the business management focus of her degree has proven very helpful: “Terms such as active and passive accounts were already familiar to me when I first came into contact with insurers here” – which enabled her to begin her work immediately, allowing her to test her theoretical knowledge in the environment of everyday practice.
That afternoon, she has another appointment: A patient is coming to discuss her health resort visit, a consultation that Zlata Kenjar will conduct together with a colleague. “We talk about the complaints and, if required, assist in writing an application to the health insurance company”, says the student. Afterwards, everything is collated in an electronic file. And fortunately, she says, her duties are not constrained solely to administration: Recently, for example, she assisted in creating a concept that will aim to make the health resort more interesting for LGBT families. “I think that is an important topic”, says Zlata Kenjar,”and from a purely business perspective it is, of course, a unique selling point.”
That she is doing something meaningful with her work is something that she regularly notices through her postbox: She often receives thankyou letters, postcards and, sometimes, even home- made gifts from Carolinensiel, the health resort on the North Sea coast. “I get to know many of the patients from their very first meeting here in Düsseldorf and understand how they are suffering”, says Zlata. “To then see that my work has really helped them is something very special.”