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MSPM student Lauren Wolff leads project management in healthcare

Published: June 7, 2022 Author: Staff reports

There is a universal need for comprehensive project management, and current Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM) student Lauren Wolff intimately understands this need as a project manager for the nursing division for two hospitals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Wolff works daily with the Chief Nursing Officer to identify effective strategies to recruit and retain nurses. They have collaborated with the current staff to develop programming designed to restructure the career ladder, creating more opportunities for career growth and development. Her role has required that she develops and executes a streamlined process to complete projects on budget and on time. 

“This program has taught me the formal project management process. I think many people think of a project in a basic format with a definitive start and finish point. There’s a lot more structure, and a project requires a plan. A project could fail if you don’t stick with the plan,” said Wolff. 

While the MSPM program can be completed in as few as 18 months, Wolff has chosen to complete the program at a pace that best suits her full-time work schedule and life as a parent of two young children. This flexibility has been an asset to her and is one of the many reasons the program attracted her. 

“I have two daughters, a four-year-old and a two-year-old. This program has been very flexible for me. It will take me about four years to complete, but I appreciate that there’s no pressure,” said Wolff. 

As she works her way through the coursework, she has found herself immediately applying the skills she learns in the classroom to her career. Her role as a project manager in healthcare was completely new when she accepted the position, which has allowed her to shape the role to best fit her skills. Additionally, as a student, she has met other project managers and professors who have served as mentors for her. 

“In my current job, I don’t really have a project management mentor, so my project management class taught by Dr. Neil Littell has played a huge role for me. I have been able to listen to my classmates who were running projects for places like the Department of Defense, which has helped guide me,” said Wolff. 

Being an MSPM student has helped to build her confidence as a project manager. On a day-to-day basis, she has been able to put a pause on a problem to assess the data and identify intended project outcomes. She noted that healthcare, especially with nurses, is a fast-paced environment which often requires that problems are addressed immediately. This program, however, has showed her the importance of slowing down and stepping back to better understand the issue at hand.

Wolff sees a great need for more project managers in healthcare. She noted that this program stood out to her because it had the option to combine coursework from both the Master of Business Administration and Master of Health Administration programs to tailor her degree to her career. This flexibility is especially important for people who are looking to customize their degree to fit their industry.

“I want my organization to get a cohort together to do the MSPM program. I told myself that I was going to start the program and prove this is valuable,” said Wolff.