Student Spotlight: Kristi Rudolf

Current Position: Intensive Care Clinical Coordinator, Nonprofit Hospital

MHA@GW student Kristi Rudolf is a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration. When deciding between graduate programs, Kristi looked closely at the curriculum and educational experience each program offered. She wanted a program that would open the doors to exciting, new career possibilities. At MHA@GW, Kristi found the perfect fit. Learn more in the interview below.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, and have a Bachelor of Health Care Administration from Florida Atlantic University and an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Palm Beach State College. I am a registered nurse who has been working in health care for more than 23 years. My health care experience ranges from home health, case management and intensive care to open heart recovery. My current role is as an intensive care clinical coordinator at a nonprofit hospital.

My affinity for health care is deeply rooted in caring for others. Every day, I bring compassion and joy with me in the hope of serving others. Many times, a smile changes a patient’s day. And on other days, it takes every ounce of my physical, emotional, mental and leadership skills to save a life, or let it end as the patient desires.

Why and when did you decide to earn an MHA degree?

Earning my undergraduate degree in health services provided me with the basics of health administration processes. My desire is to integrate the full 30,000-foot view with my frontline experience. This is why earning my MHA is so important to me.

Why did you choose the MHA@GW program?

When deciding on a master’s program to attend, I looked at many universities with varied programs. I first had to decide whether to go for a generic MBA or an MHA specializing in health care. As my entire working career had been in health care, and I had recently obtained my Bachelor of Health Care Administration, the choice became self-evident. I ultimately chose MHA@GW because of the curriculum. The courses are at an advanced level and build on my undergraduate studies. It was not the shortest or the easiest MHA program: In fact, it was the most challenging. When I submitted a request for information, Jamie Southam from the admissions team called me. She was able to answer all of my questions and made me feel as if I was about to be involved in a program that was not only unique but life changing.

What excites you most about the program?

The most exciting aspect of the program is the wealth of knowledge and varied experiences of my fellow students. I learn something valuable from them every day, whether it’s reading a blog, responding to a statement posted on the class wall or working on a group project.

Each module is unique, and the subject matter and professors are different. The modules are like pieces of a puzzle — they all fit together to create something beautiful. The same statement is true of the professors, as they each come with varied expertise from both the private and public sectors. They are always available, not just by email and not only between the hours of nine to five.

My favorite part of the classroom experience is having the ability to interact both visually and verbally with students and professors. This online capability connects you with your cohort throughout the week. You are not just watching videos and taking online exams by yourself.

Tell us about your experience at the MHA@GW immersion.

The first immersion in September was like going to my high school reunion, as I had been speaking and working with my fellow students and professors for several months already. Dr. Friedman talked about his journey in creating this program for us. He had a vision to provide a learning environment by which great leaders would emerge. He has a desire for us to challenge ourselves to make a difference in health care.

What do you hope to accomplish after graduation?

Upon graduation, I will look for a leadership position that, like MHA@GW, will challenge me. I want to be part of a team that will change the way health care is provided by increasing accountability and responsibility on the part of the payers, providers and consumers and expanding the access and availability of preventive care. I want to make an impact in health care that will change the way we view it.