The University of Lethbridge's Health Services Management (HSM) graduate programs, including the master’s and graduate certificate programs, can help health care practitioners and entry-level managers gain skills to lead and innovate in the Canadian healthcare system. Here, first-year student Dr. Sabahat Nazim, who previously worked as a paediatrician in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, talks about why she chose the Master's of Health Services Management (MHSM) and what the journey has been like so far.

Why did you decide to take Health Services Management at the University of Lethbridge?

"I had been associated with healthcare services for the past 12 years as a practising physician. After working on the clinical side in the field of pediatric medicine in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, I wanted to explore the scenes behind operations of a successful team and organization. When I studied the program’s offerings at ULethbridge, I found all the required tools to equip myself for the bigger challenges in this field."

What do you like the most about the program?

"The first thing that attracted me was that the program is designed with a blended delivery format (online and on-campus), providing full-time working professionals with scheduling options without compromising on their work commitments. Also, the research, assignments and projects revolve around real case studies conducted globally, which gives the students the solid foundation to apply their skills and knowledge in a variety of health settings."

What is the most important lesson you learned at uLethbridge? Have there been challenges you've overcame?

"Each semester during this program has so much to offer, and at the end of each course there was always a take-home message that helped me in one way or another at my workplace.

The past two years have been challenging in a variety of ways. The diminishing human interaction with peers and faculty, newer modes of learning and adoption of flexible approaches challenged both the faculty and students and proved to be a new learning curve for everyone. The lesson that I and my classmates learned was that no matter what kind of challenges we faced, we worked together and supported each other in this journey as a team. We managed to come up with successful plans, celebrated victories and learned from our mistakes. When it comes to e-learning, we have proven that we are as equally competent as other leaders in the making (anywhere in the world)!"

How is HSM changing your career trajectory?

"Healthcare is one the fastest growing and ever evolving industries in Canada and is in constant need of highly qualified managers to lead in healthcare facilities. While I could go ahead with the licensing pathway to resume my clinical practice here in Canada, HSM has proven to be an exciting new option for me in order to advance my career in a slightly different discipline.

Through HSM, I am learning to plan, direct and coordinate medical and health services. By polishing my leadership skills, I strive to work and engage with leaders in the field to motivate and inspire the coming generations of leaders and innovators. This program has also introduced me to a world of new opportunities in the field of patient care, finance, marketing, public relations and HR management. I aim to work in close proximity with stakeholders to bring them practical and innovative service designs, (through one of the most exciting and interactive courses in this program)."

What advice would you give other students starting in HSM?

"Health service careers are growing at a fast pace in North America. This program prepares you for a variety of career options like ambulatory and clinic management, service designing, quality management, patient safety and insurance and cater to some of the highest paying and lucrative career options. Students who are willing to explore the healthcare industry and want to be a vital part of the team behind facility operations and functions should definitely enrol in the program. The MHSM at ULethbridge is fully equipped with intellectual faculty, modern teaching methods, and a warm welcoming and accessible university family."