Nursing program helps save lives

The healthcare industry is always in high demand, and one of the most prominent and well-established colleges, since 1934, on the University of Detroit Mercy campus, is the College of Health Professions (CHP).

Also known as the McAuley School of Nursing, the college was named after the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley. But CHP is much more than just nursing.

There are many different health profession programs it provides its students.

The most obvious program is the nursing program, but there is also a physician assistant program, health information management (HIM) program, health services administration program, and the nurse anesthesiology program.

Students are taught well because of the phenomenal and accomplished staff in CHP, which includes:  Detroit Mercy’s Associate Professor of Health Services Administration, Sister Mary Kelly, the university’s Program Chair of Health Information Management, Judith Hetsler-Parr, and the Associate Professor of the Physician Assistant (PA) Program, Amy Dereczyk.

Kelly was the first president and the first to start the long-term care of the Trinity Health System, now known as Trinity Continuing Care, which has facilities around the country. In the graduate program, Kelly teaches health care policy, and at the undergraduate level she teaches Intro to Health Care Administration. 

She explained that health care administration is just like the Detroit Mercy’s business school, except that it’s tailored specifically for people who want to work in healthcare. 

“Somebody has to plan, and coordinate, and budget for, and oversee the quality of healthcare delivery,” she said. “I think sometimes student don’t realize there are non-clinical roles.” 

Hetsler-Parr said that the HIM has the highest ethics of any program in CHP, because the program is all about caring and securing patient’s electronic health records and improving the safety of patient care.

Hetsler-Parr instills ethics into her students right from the start. 

“If I find anyone of you cheating on a test you are out of the program immediately,” she said.

Hetsler-Parr said that Detroit Mercy students that would have a career in HIM would not have hands on direct patient care; however, they’d have the important skills to do data capture, validation and maintenance of patient electronic health records, to do data analysis, information dissemination and liaison, health information resource management and innovation, and more.

“The job market for HIM professional is growing fast, hiring companies can not hire people fast enough,” Hetsler-Parr said.

Dereczyck explained that a physician assistant is a health care provider that are licensed dependent practitioners, and are sometimes mistaken to be the doctor.   

Dereczyck said that a typical week for Detroit Mercy physician assistant full time students is quite busy. 

To start, every Monday students are in the basement doing Anatomy for about half a day.

Dereczyck said that the mission and identity of the PA program lines up with the university mission and identity.

 “What our students can expect from our program  is to come out the  program well educated, well rounded, and a desire to serve the underserved,” Dereczyk said.

Out of all the programs offered in CHP, the PA program is the most challenging to enter, because out of the 800 applications the program receives only 40 are chosen, said Dereczyck.

In CHP all the programs instill the value of promoting optimal health for all, and a big part of that is done through service learning.

“When people in the healthcare administration program  do service learning we try to get them into situations that impact the health of the community, said Kelly.

Students get to make positive impact on the health of senior citizens, people in soup kitchens, people in shelters, etc.

Victoria Reske is in her fourth year of the PA program. She likes CHP because of how well they educate students, and the personalized attention the staff gives to its students.

“The teachers are awesome and all very willing to help, and it’s nice because class sizes ares so small here, and I learn better that way,” she said.