Tammy Hamilton, a 2022 graduate of the master in health care administration (MHA) program, recently completed a Tennessee Hospital Association internship designed to match minority health care students with hospital executives across the state. Hamilton was encouraged to apply for the THA Agenda 21 Internship Program by Dr. Brandee Norris, director of the Master of Healthcare Administration degree program at Trevecca. Hamilton applied and completed her interviews in the fall of 2021, eventually being selected to participate at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in May 2022.
I was one of eight students chosen from applicants across the country to participate in this year's THA Agenda 21 Internship Program. Interns work closely with hospital leader preceptors, administrators and staff to gain valuable hands-on experiences. These engagements strengthen interns' communication and leadership skills as they apply the practices and theories learned in their graduate studies to real-world scenarios.
As a major component of the program, interns must identify, develop and implement a major topic project that will directly benefit their precepting organization. The program culminated on August 9, with each intern presenting these projects to an audience that included THA leadership and staff, intern preceptors and various other healthcare community members. Vanderbilt leaders attended the event in support of my work this summer. I am incredibly grateful for these and other leaders who dedicated their time throughout my internship.
In my daily role as an executive assistant to a hospital president, I observe various levels of leadership interactions, daily decision-making and strategic approaches to problem-solving. Although these scenarios offer a unique vantage point, participating in this internship facilitated a learning environment beyond the limited reach of my daily observations and the traditional classroom setting. The program structure presented real-time opportunities to draw from the conceptual knowledge gained throughout my Trevecca coursework.The experience allowed me to identify the concepts introduced throughout the MHA and apply the strategies and methodologies learned in real-world situations. This hands-on approach provided valuable learning opportunities that aren't possible in a traditional classroom setting. I was exposed to numerous leader engagements and practical experiences that spanned several key functional areas within the Vanderbilt Enterprise.
The culture of the environment where I interned embodies servant and transformational leadership styles, which were exhibited in the leadership traits and characteristics I observed. These valuable learning experiences have enhanced my emerging leadership skills, strengthened my understanding of core graduate program competencies and inspired me to mirror similar leadership attributes in my future career. Of equal importance are the meaningful mentor relationships that developed as a small handful of executives selflessly dedicated their valuable time to cultivating and supporting my journey to become a future leader in health care.
It’s my hope that the perseverance and resilience the Lord continually provided while overcoming personal challenges, working full-time, pursuing my MHA degree and completing an internship with THA may one day serve to encourage someone to never give up on their dreams!