June 23, 2024

Serene Nest

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Discover Canada’s exclusive online Master of Health Administration Program at Laurentian University

5 min read

The only online program of its kind in Canada stands as a cornerstone in shaping the future of healthcare leadership in Ontario

In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape in Ontario, the demand for skilled professionals equipped with advanced knowledge and leadership capabilities is essential.

Laurentian University’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) program is designed for students to gain knowledge and expertise in the field of healthcare administration exclusively in an online format. Professor Roberta Heale DNP/PhD is a nurse practitioner who took the lead in establishing the MHA program. Heale says, “It’s a unique, comprehensive, and accessible graduate program that is a partnership between the graduate Nursing and Master of Business Administration programs at Laurentian. It’s designed not only to meet the needs of nurses but all other healthcare professionals who want to advance from clinical to healthcare administration.”

Laurentian’s MHA program stands out as a pivotal opportunity for professionals in the healthcare sector. The course work covers a wide array of topics including healthcare management, finance, policy, ethics, labour relations, and strategic planning. It ensures that graduates are well-rounded professionals capable of handling the complexities of modern healthcare systems.

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Need for a Master in Health Administration program

Roberta Heale wrote the proposal for the MHA program several years ago. The idea for the program was sparked in her hometown of Sudbury after she opened the first nurse practitioner-led clinic in Canada. She says, “Our team members knew how to be nurse practitioners, but we quickly realized that we needed support in the administration of the organization. I set up the board of directors and helped with human resources policies but at the time there was no helpful guide to follow.”

In her years in the field, Heale noticed that healthcare professionals who are promoted to administrative roles have clinical knowledge but are lacking in management experience.

Heale says, “There is no guarantee the individual being put into the administrative role, which is very different from the clinical role, has any idea about how to even read a spreadsheet. It’s important for administrators to know what their job is. There are many issues that arise, from setting vacation days to dealing with patient violence. Administrators need to understand organizational structure, finances, and human resources issues.” Heale adds, “We don’t necessarily think about administrative skills when individuals are hired for the job. They may be expert clinicians but there may also be a lot of gaps in their knowledge about managing a healthcare organization.”

There are 15,000 nurses in administrative roles across Canada. Heale adds, “I can’t imagine that all the nurses had formal administrative education prior to assuming the role. It really speaks to the need for a Master in Health Administration program that is accessible to working healthcare professionals from across the country.”

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MHA program is accessible and flexible

Because MHA students come from rural, urban, and remote communities, travel for education is not feasible for everyone. That’s why Laurentian University developed an MHA program that is fully online.

Other MHA programs in Canada require students to attend the university in person. Heale says, “We know from experience at Laurentian, being a university in northern Ontario, it’s extremely difficult for people from northern and remote areas to attend a university for a weekend or a semester. The travel may also be prohibitively expensive. We wanted this MHA program to be very accessible to students from across the country and even outside of Canada.”

The online delivery speaks to the inclusivity of the program. It allows individuals to pursue postsecondary education without compromising their current commitments. Such accessibility is particularly advantageous for healthcare practitioners seeking career advancement without interrupting their professional roles.

The only online MHA program in Canada

The Master in Health Administration program at Laurentian is relatively new. The first English MHA program began in September 2023. The French language program and the expanded English program will begin in the fall of 2024. Laurentian is accepting applications for next September until the first of February 2024.

The MHA program at Laurentian is fully bilingual and all nine courses are delivered entirely online. Heale says, “You can take all nine courses over one year, or you can complete the program in two to three years. You must complete all nine courses to do the capstone project, which is the culmination of all learning wrapped into a major project that demonstrates a specific issue in the context of the student’s particular health administration field.” The program content encompasses all essential knowledge for health administrators in addition to having a strong rural, northern, and Indigenous focus.

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Career advancement

Ideal candidates come from the wider healthcare sector, including the fields of audiology, chiropractic, dentistry, medical radiation technology, occupational therapy, psychology, social work, and speech-language pathology. Even though policies, laws, and regulations are slightly different for various fields and organizations, the main concepts are integrated throughout the wider healthcare system. Healthcare administrators need an in-depth understanding of healthcare policy and advocacy to influence positive change within the healthcare sector.

Holding an MHA from Laurentian University significantly enhances career prospects. The program’s rigorous curriculum empowers graduates with a competitive edge in the job market. Employers often seek candidates with specialized education and an MHA can open doors to higher-level managerial and administrative positions in hospitals, long-term care homes, community clinics, and government agencies.

Consider Laurentian University’s MHA program

The Master of Health Administration program prepares students with the foundational knowledge to succeed in managerial and leadership roles in various healthcare organizations. Graduates are equipped to lead teams, drive innovation, and navigate the dynamic healthcare environment with confidence.

The knowledge and skills acquired through Laurentian University’s MHA program empowers graduates to make significant contributions to the improvement of the healthcare system in Ontario and across Canada. Whether it’s optimizing operations, enhancing patient care, or implementing innovative solutions, graduates of the Master in Health Administration program at Laurentian are positioned to drive positive changes that benefit both their healthcare organizations and the communities they serve.

Applications are being accepted now for a Fall 2024 start in the Master of Health Administration program.

Start your journey of discovery online here.

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