Casey Barrett

"Don't jump to conclusions..."

MHA Alumni Spotlight: Casey Barrett

Interview Conducted by Hollie Woods

What was your childhood like?
I had a great childhood. I grew up with two older brothers, so I was always the only girl. And I am the youngest, so that just has spoiled written all over it. My parents were self-employed so it was really nice growing up. They could come to a lot of our activities so there was a lot of flexibility involved in that. But that is also very different from what I do. So I didn’t have that model growing up of a normal 8-5 professional job from my parents, but either way they still instilled a hardworking work ethic into me.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in Health Administration?
In all honesty I started college as a business major then went along the radiology track before I decided that nursing was a better route. I’m not sure what triggered me to go there in the first place but after I became a nurse, I loved it.

As I started looking at master’s degrees, I then decided to make a full circle, because that business side still interested me. So, the MHA program really gave me the best of both worlds.

What was your first management role?
My true first management role after completing the MHA program was when I came to Deaconess for the practice manager position in allergy and immunology. Before that, I held the leadership position as the charge nurse for the three adult ICUs in the hospital.

What have been some key lessons you’ve learned through all your experience?
If I could summarize some of the big ones, one is that everyone needs to be heard. So, you’ll find that working with physicians especially, they come to you when you’re in an administrative role with their concerns or their issues and you can’t always solve the issues but you need to hear them out. And of course if you can solve them, then you will work hard and try to do that as well. But whether it is a physician or staff member or a colleague, everyone needs to be heard.

So, listening is very important in this type of role. And don’t jump to conclusions. I would say that I am a fixer by nature, so when someone comes to me with an issue I tend to knee jerk or I want to fix it or solve the problem. Really investigating an issue is very important before you make any type of decision or action plan. Whether that’s hearing both parts of the story or just doing all of the homework that’s involved in them.

What are your beliefs about motivating, influencing, serving and leading others?
I feel like we are all called to healthcare for a reason and for most of us that reason would be to care for patients and to serve others. I think that if you put the patient at the center of what we do then that will drive all proceeding factors. So for motivating and influencing others, if you could help center your team to focus on patients and why we’re here, I think that that is motivating to them as well.

What can people expect from you and what do you expect from them?
I would say honesty, transparency and communication. I am very big on communication both ways. I need to understand all of the details of what I am getting into or working on and I want to do the same for others. That and just to do your best. So I am going to give in my all in my job and do my best but I also realize that I am not going to be the best at everything.

And everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses. So, although I might not have certain strengths in an area, I have an awesome team that has very different strengths and I know I could count on them for different things.

However, I have that expectation of my team as well that if they’ve got something they struggle with, then they will lean on each other and that teamwork makes us really successful.

What advice could you give a young person entering the health administration field?
My advice would be to have short- and long-term goals… so, “what do I want to do right now? What is my goal as I enter in to health administration?” and putting some very tangible action items to that and even a timeline. Also networking, I know Dr. Valadares hammers that home because he always did with my cohort but I can’t agree with him more of how important it is. Also, make sure to be a good mentee.

People focus on “find a really good mentor”, well there’s only so much you can do to find a good mentor, but when you do find one, being a really good mentee— meaning being responsible or asking really good questions, just being the type of person they would want to put their time and energy into is really important.

How do you hire?
First you start with the basics, so does this person have the qualities or skillsets needed to put them in the role. And after that personality fit is as important as the actual skillset is. Beyond that, someone who is eager to learn is very important.

You can teach someone a lot of things, so I would hire someone who doesn’t have the perfect background as long as they are eager to learn and have the ability to dive in and learn those things - and are motivated. You can teach the actual knowledge but you can’t teach those personal qualities or pieces.

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Dr. Kevin Valadares
Program Chair

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