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Phoenix Forward

University of Phoenix MBA grad makes a big impact in hospice care

Bridget Montana

You may not think of nursing and business administration as related career paths. But Bridget Montana, RN, MSN, MBA, a successful nursing executive and 1991 MBA graduate of the School of Business, proves otherwise.

Montana recently became chief clinical officer for Amedisys, one of the nation’s largest providers of hospice care — just the latest achievement in Montana’s long career as a clinician and executive in the American hospice arena.

At the time she pursued her MBA in the early 1990s, Montana was already an advanced-practice nurse with a passion for the lifetime continuum of care, especially end-of-life care for both geriatric and terminally ill patients. But after a period of time (and several layoffs), she wanted to make the jump from floor nurse into a managerial role.

After first obtaining her MSN degree, she found that while the MSN enhanced her nursing skills, she still lacked the analytical business skills required of top-level health care administrators. “I wanted to learn about accounting, finance and marketing as well as learn to analyze and dissect situations from multiple perspectives,” she explains.

What health care needs now are leaders who will think in new ways to design programs and pathways that interconnect with the greater health care continuum.

Montana believes that while getting an MBA isn’t on most nurses’ radar, it’s an option more mid-career nurses should consider. “A nurse with an MBA is really an unusual combination,” she says. “Having the MBA can expand your horizons and change your way of thinking. And you don’t necessarily have to use it to take a leadership role — it can be applied in multiple ways.”

Montana has spent the past 20 years serving in a variety of executive-level nursing and administrative positions at multiple hospice care organizations. Her crowning achievement is her current position at Amedisys, which currently operates 94 hospice centers across the country.

“Amedisys’ founder and CEO is himself a nurse, and this is the first time I’ve worked for a company that is nurse-led from the highest level,” Montana says. “This as well as the organization’s innovative, caring and compassionate drive to influence health care across America is what attracted me to the company. I knew that it was a place I could make a big impact.”

Amedisys and Bridget Montana were perfect for each other. “Amedisys has a grassroots understanding of hospice and palliative care, and that matches my own passion,” she explains. “We strive to create an environment of clinical excellence and superiority. Vision, an ability to be creative as well as being a systems thinker is often required for success in the current health care environment, where we’re dealing with ever-shrinking resources combined with a greater influx of complex patient needs,” she says.

While these are certainly challenging times, Montana thinks they also present exciting opportunities. “It’s really an amazing time for health care in our country,” she says.  “What health care needs now are leaders who will think in new ways to design programs and pathways that interconnect with the greater health care continuum.”

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