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“I could not have achieved all that I have without the education, and the encouragement, I received from RMU. To everyone, I say, Thank you.”
You would think that when Nada Bowie walked across the stage in June to receive her master’s degree in health care management, that she would take a moment to rest on her laurels – but actually, she’s just getting warmed up.
Nada’s journey with Robert Morris began back in 1994. A newly-divorced young mother, she realized that a career in cosmetology wouldn’t take her where she wanted to go or would provide her child with what she needed. “I was looking through the phonebook and came across an ad for Robert Morris College and its medical assisting program,” she remembers. Her interest in health care had been piqued by a recent ER visit that left her with a desire to learn more about the medical field. She applied and started what she refers to as a “very strict, intense program.”
Nada made it through the MA certification and then flirted with the idea of going directly to work without completing her associate degree – that is until she came up against her advisor, Vern Sims, who would have none of it. Nada found Ms Sims a force to be reckoned with: “What was it she used to say? ‘Tell it to Oprah, because I don’t want to hear it. You are going for that associate degree!’” Needless to say, Nada completed the degree, but that was only the beginning.
She found a position right away as a medical assistant and then put her skills to work for different medical specialties in the healthcare field. In the course of her career path, Nada decided to join the U.S. Army, in which she spent eight years with the Army reserves and then decided to return to RMU to complete her bachelor’s degree – a goal she knew was not going to be easy to accomplish. “Sometimes it was it was so hard,” she said. “I worked days – sometimes ten hour shifts – then picked up my daughter from school, dropped her off with family so I could attend night classes, picked her up again, read to her at night, but I knew I had to make a better life for us. I felt so awesome completing my degree; it was a great accomplishment.”
After her second child was born, Nada was able to purchase her first home and landed a position at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as a manager of the Internal Medicine department. “I knew I wanted to do more in health care in the area of compliance and patient satisfaction, but I also knew I needed more than just a bachelor’s in healthcare. When I received an email about the RMU graduate school with weekend classes, I became very interested.” As soon as she started taking classes, “I immediately put some of the skills to work. I learned to look at budgets and financial information a lot differently. The human resource skills, the team projects – I knew a lot of the topics but suddenly I was making the connections on the job, I was seeing things differently.” She credits Ms Simms, Dr. Janet Davis and Dr. Jay as three instructors who would not take “I can’t” as an excuse. “They pushed me when I thought about quitting.”
Nada’s job at Northwestern has her involved in all aspects of the downtown internal medicine site from budgeting, scheduling, hiring and firing, working the floor and the lab. She also mentors some of the younger employees, helping them find their paths. “A lot of them are just a little too comfortable where they are. I see much more for them, I see the potential. I want them to do better.”
She also manages to do her share of drawing blood and taking vitals when things get busy. “I get involved to keep those medical assisting skills sharp,” she said. And also because her master’s degree isn’t her last stop on the education highway: “I want to get my RN,” she says. “It’s at the top of my bucket list,”– along with learning Japanese and riding a motorcycle.
“You know, I really feel the Lord got me to where I had to go,” Nada says. “I’ve always been a leader, I have that drive, but sometimes things happen, things get in the way. Well, as they say in the Army, ‘Suck it up and drive on, soldier.’ I could not have achieved all that I have without the education, and the encouragement, I received from RMU. To everyone, I say, Thank you.”