A master's degree specializing in Health Care Administration from Capella has enabled Jeffrey Fenne to provide a new level of leadership on issues that affect his entire organization, the University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinics.
Previously, as a supervisor in surgical services with primary focus on neurosurgery, Fenne led a team of about 20 people responsible for the daily operational details that keep things running smoothly— materials, staffing, surgeon requests, etc.
When a leadership position opened up in his department, Fenne was immediately interested. His employer was willing to let him step into the new job, as long as he was actively pursuing the master's degree that was required.
"I was working 50–60 hours a week, and it became pretty obvious that I wanted to earn my degree online," he says. "I really appreciated the Capella learning model. Schools where everybody has to be online at a certain time weren't going to work for me." Fenne appreciated the flexibility, and he notes that it also took a great deal of self-discipline to stay on track.
Rapid and direct feedback from his Capella instructors kept him focused. "That immediate feedback—like not having to wait long for papers to be graded—was instrumental in motivating me. There was no lag time so the momentum stayed strong," Fenne says.
Bigger scope, broader view
Now, as clinical operations manager, he has responsibility for 39 operating rooms in three locations, and a staff of more than 250. He is still responsible for daily operations, carried out by supervisors who report to him.
He enjoys the expanded scope of his job, but the best part is a new view of his profession and his opportunity to be a leader.
"The greatest reward to me is the ability to look at the big picture and influence the direction of the organization."
"The greatest reward for me is the ability to look at the big picture and influence the direction of the organization."