MBA Spotlight: Gaul Transitioned Nursing Career into Management
Many nurses find themselves at a turning point in their career. They seek to transition their experience in clinical practice to a position in which they can affect organizational change and lead staff.
Patty Gaul reached that point after working nearly 20 years as a nurse. Now, as director of Medical Surgical, Infusion Services and Wound Care at St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading, Pa., she takes a lead role in serving two satellite wound care departments, a hyperbaric program, an infusions program and two medical surgical units.
Gaul earned her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Nursing from Alvernia in 1984 and 2005, respectively. She came back to Alvernia and completed her MBA in 2010.
“I have always loved my job as a nurse caring for people and gaining the critical thinking skills needed to think on my feet,” Gaul says.
She took her nursing career into management in 2001 when she became manager of Ambulatory Services at St. Joseph’s. Gaul found she liked the business side of health care and decided an MBA program could teach her skills to grow in her new career.
“I have gained an understanding of billing and insurance practices,” Gaul says. “This knowledge in combination with my clinical background has allowed me to see things from a different perspective which has enabled me to run a department efficiently.”
Healthcare managers navigate the area between staff and upper management and must keep pace with current advances in care and technology as well as regulatory and legal requirements. They encourage professional development among staff, as well as set expectations for optimal health care.
Gaul has continued to step up to the challenges of management, accomplishing many goals along the way.
“I am most proud of growing our infusion services [at St. Joseph’s] from 480 monthly procedures to 2,600 monthly procedures,” Gaul says.
Gaul’s dedication and willingness to grow professionally has given her opportunities to contribute to the overall success of her healthcare organization.
“Implementing change is always difficult, especially in today’s environment,” she says. “I have gained a better understanding of business management which has helped me to engage others to make changes.”