The Sacramento metro area is home to a rapidly growing number of baby boomers, nearly 340,000 according to the 2011 U.S. Census. The opportunities for outdoor, community and cultural activities in the region encourage an active lifestyle and offer plenty of mental stimulus for locals born from 1946 to 1964. Meeting the health needs for this dynamic generation leads to a high demand for registered nurses and highly skilled administrators.
Education has had a profound impact on Patricia Rodriguez, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center and Medical Offices. After getting her associate’s degree and registered nurse license in Rodriguez’s native country of Canada. She then became an emergency room charge nurse at Kaiser in Honolulu and also did claims management there. Rodriguez ultimately earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, focusing on business and health care administration.
Did your clinical training offer benefits beyond learning hands-on skills?
During her schooling, Rodriguez developed a “clinical mindset” that has helped in many ways throughout her career. “Keeping patients at the center of your decision making is the most important thing,” she says.
How has your business degree impacted your career?
“First, it was instrumental in making me take that step from clinical into planning,” says Rodriguez. Her business coursework also focused on developing advanced skills in leadership and organizational management. Learning “systems of accountability” has proven invaluable in developing and streamlining processes and helping her staff and overall organization thrive.
Did the overall environment of higher education help you in your career?
Rodriguez says that her clinical training in particular included a “relationship-based culture,” instilling a mindset of cooperation and collaboration. She also found very positive role models in the environment, whose examples helped shape her into the leader she is today. Rodriguez remains dedicated to longterm mentoring of others “because of how my mentors helped me.”
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.