MHA Helps Boost Wolf to Hospital CEO Role
By Dan Silvia
Manuela Wolf spent a little over eight years at the Harlan County Health System in South Central Nebraska, first as Chief Nursing Officer and then making the jump to Chief Executive Officer in June of 2013. That move accompanied her enrollment in Bellevue University’s Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program. She remained in the CEO role until recently, when she accepted an offer to become President and CEO of Memorial Community Hospital and Health System in Blair, Nebraska.
She recently discussed her new role and how earning her MHA at Bellevue University has impacted her career.
What are some of your responsibilities in your position as President and CEO of Memorial Community Hospital?
Community outreach is one of my biggest responsibilities. I also work with the finance team on determining our annual budget. I have a peer leadership team that works very well together. With their help, I oversee the hospital and the three rural health clinics that we have here: one in Blair, one in Fort Calhoun, and one in Tekamah (all in Nebraska).
Sometimes I feel like a firefighter on a ride. You have to be able to react to short-term needs that just happen to come up. However, the biggest responsibility is helping our governing board set the strategic direction of the organization and making sure that we meet those strategic goals.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
That would have to be the interaction with very, very different types of individuals on a day-to-day basis. I interact with our medical staff. I have the chance to interact with patients, with employees and other community members outside of the hospital.
What's the role of the hospital in the community and the surrounding areas?
Memorial Community Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital that is licensed for 21 beds. It still acts as that healthcare provider where people can get the care that they need in their own community without having to travel to the city. We also serve a fairly large population to the north of Blair. If you go south of Blair, you're in Omaha pretty quickly, but if you go to the north of Tekamah and further north, it's quite a ways away from Omaha. We're easily available to those populations. We're able to provide care, in an easier and more accessible way than some of the larger facilities in Omaha. Blair also offers an amazing Labor and Delivery program that allows our moms to deliver babies right here close to home where our physicians can take care of the medical needs of the entire family.
How important was earning your MHA in landing the CEO position?
It was very important. While it wasn’t an out-and-out prerequisite, it was definitely preferred. I think the knowledge that I've gained throughout my studies is really what helped me in landing this position in Blair.
How did you first learn about Bellevue University and what led you to enroll in the MHA program?
I learned about Bellevue University when I researched organizations that would be able to meet my needs to hold a busy job, while at the same time pursuing a Master's Degree. While there are other online programs, I felt more comfortable with Bellevue University because it is local. The enrollment process was very easy. All the staff members that I worked with were extremely helpful. They helped me get all of my background information together. I had completed some college in Germany and they helped get all those transcripts together. I felt like I had a lot of support.
What did you enjoy most about the MHA program?
I really loved the amount of knowledge that I gained from the MHA program. I felt there was lot of content that was relevant to what I was doing on a day-to-day basis. While this was an online program, I also enjoyed the peer-to-peer interaction through discussion boards and I actually still remain in contact with some of my fellow students and we utilize each other as resources from time to time.