Durham MBA is just what the doctor ordered for local GP
(1 June 2006)
A Hartlepool GP is calling on his new MBA skills to increase productivity, improve patient care and boost efficiency in a busy doctors surgery.
Dr Kai Sander, 39, studied medicine for six years to become a doctor, but as the Health Service continues to evolve and GP practices are increasingly required to run as small businesses, he decided to do a part- time MBA at Durham Business School to learn the skills necessary. “I studied medicine for six years when I trained to be a doctor and obviously this didn’t cover a great deal of the management process of a busy surgery, said Dr Sander. “I saw studying an MBA as an opportunity to increase my knowledge of business and management to a much higher level so I could apply it to my day-to-day role as a doctor.” Dr Sander is based at Gladstone House Surgery on Victoria Road in Hartlepool. He has used his new-found skills to set up systems to measure how well the surgery is operating, identify and implement appropriate action plans and monitor the changes to enhance the overall quality of patient care. He added: “The MBA has taught me a broader range of management disciplines and the new skills I’ve learnt have given me a much greater understanding of the theory behind management decisions and the processes involved. “Quality practice indicators and benchmarking, which are just some of the areas the MBA encompasses, can be used to bring about improvement in primary care by making it possible to identify good practice, which enables organisations and individuals to learn from others and achieve better results.” Originally from Bremen in Germany, Dr Sander moved to the North East 10 years ago to improve his English and was so taken with the region he decided to stay. Although he’s based in Hartlepool, he opted to do the Business School’s part-time MBA as it allowed him to combine studying and still meet his commitment to the practice and his patients. Since graduating last autumn, not only has Dr Sander seen improvements in the surgery, the Durham MBA has benefited his personal life too. “The skills I learned have meant the new processes and procedures we put in place at the surgery allow me to put more time into doing my job, which has greatly improved my work/life balance - advice I often give to my patients!” The two-year long MBA was one of the biggest challenges Dr Sander has undertaken, but the support of others on the course helped him and he encourages anyone serious about improving their professional development to do an MBA. He said: “From beginning to end, I enjoyed the whole course. The assignments and project work were demanding at times, but at the same time, very rewarding. “I studied with a number of postgraduates from totally different backgrounds so it was great to get different perspectives on topics and issues. “There are times when life catches up with you and you have to be prepared for difficulties, so it’s a case of learning how to accommodate everything in a hectic life style, but it is well worth it in the end.” Durham’s part-time MBA students study modules on finance, managing in global and competitive environments, people management, methods of inquiry and management of information. The programme also teaches ‘softer’ attributes that individuals need to succeed as managers. These include a focus on negotiation, presentation, project management and leadership skills. Director of Durham Business School’s part-time MBA programme, Anne Woodhead said: “Kai is an excellent example of someone from a professional background who studies on our MBA programme and is then able to apply what he learns to his current job. She added: “The course contains innovative study modules, equipping people with new skills they can take back and use immediately in their career.” More information about a part-time MBA at Durham Business School is available from Dee Clark on 0191 334 5533 or www.dur.ac.uk/dbs.