I graduated from high school at 19 and for personal reasons, decided not pursue further studies. I then decided to do an apprenticeship as a medical practice assistant, which I really enjoyed. That was my entrance to the healthcare sector, where I decided to stay. However, I often felt somewhat under challenged in my work as an assistant, which is why I was always on the lookout for further training opportunities: X-ray courses, microbiology and laboratory courses, communication courses, practice management etc., etc., etc...
Eventually, I moved from working in the out-patient to the in-patient ward, and did specialist training for outpatient medical care. I started my Bachelor studies at IU International University of Applied Sciences in 2015. Then my life changed completely: My husband and I moved from Germany to Switzerland, and I started working in St. Gallen as a chief medical secretary – all while keeping up with my studies. I was working full-time and studying part-time for four years. When I finished my Bachelor's degree, I started looking for a new job and it worked out very quickly. Today, I work as a team leader of the medical examiner service at a health insurer in Switzerland.
I can now do everything I've always wanted to do.
In my current position at the medical review board, I’m able to do everything I’ve always wanted to do: my work includes a medical aspect, an insurance law aspect and also a business management aspect. And last but not least, I am the manager of a team of 8 female employees.
My day-to-day work is exciting and varied. I deal with medical audits of applications for cost credits (medications, treatments, in-patient stays, etc.). Currently, I'm also involved in process management, the development of an internal monitoring system and in digitalisation processes. So I don’t really have a typical day at work - every day is a new day. I work with people and have a real impact on their lives, and have to balance that with the numbers and statistics, along with the financial aspects.
Why I chose to study at IU International University of Applied Sciences
I consider myself to be a lifelong learner, and I’ve always worked on developing my education and training. Somehow, despite becoming a healthcare specialist, I kept finding myself taking on online study courses. After talking to the head physician at my previous job, who was my supervisor, he recommended that I look into studying at IU. As soon as I found out about this option, the choice was simple. I decided that I shouldn’t wait any longer, and in 2015, I enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management at IU International University of Applied Sciences.
Despite having 25 years of professional experience in the healthcare sector, my studies still provided some “a-ha” moments which I was able to implement in my professional life - especially in matters concerning hospital management. I suddenly understood the business context of healthcare better, and was able to benefit from this new knowledge by having my say in business matters. It was great, being able to use the knowledge from my studies in a practical way very quickly.
The biggest challenge for me? Time management.
The biggest challenge during my studies was time management. I was working full-time, and even though I studied part-time for four years, it was still exhausting to balance between my job, my studies and my private life. Throughout this period, my husband was very supportive of me. What also helped was how proud of myself I felt for earning my bachelor's degree at the age of 50.
Online studies offer a huge opportunity for advancement in your professional life. After all, well-educated professionals are in high demand. Even at the age of 50, I got a great job right after graduation. Studying can be exhausting and sometimes you have to re-motivate yourself, but don’t give up! It's really worth it and the feeling you have when you finally hold your diploma in your hands is simply indescribable.