NECB Alumni Spotlight: Nilson Fernandes, Master’s in Healthcare Management
NECB: Why did you decide to attend NECB?
Nilson: I attended NECB because it was the best fit for my goals and current ambitions. The College’s professors taught real-world, relevant information and courses that were directly applicable to the healthcare industry that I’m aspiring to advance in.
NECB: What advice would you give to someone who is considering going to NECB?
Nilson: The best advice I would give someone is to first do your research on NECB. Then mentally accept if you choose to go to NECB that it will not only challenge you to think and see things differently, but what you get out of it, both professionally and personally, will all be worth it. The courses helped me look at things from a different perspective — encouraging me to think outside the box while pulling from my years of experience in my career to contribute tangible, engaging content in the weekly class discussions.
NECB: What advice would you give to students to be successful with online learning? Any challenges you had to overcome? Or any misconceptions you had going in that turned out to be untrue?
Nilson: In the beginning, two of my biggest things I had to overcome were time management and getting used to online learning. Thankfully, I was able to find ways to make online learning work for me and my schedule by planning out each week’s upcoming deadlines and dedicating time in advance. For example, after work, I would make it a priority to devote time to my coursework and used Saturdays to decompress, prepare for the next week’s work.
I would highly recommend students look at the syllabus to plan out the upcoming week’s deadlines. Doing this allowed me to carve out the right amount of time to provide high-quality responses to the course material while also engaging with my peers during discussion topics each week. This format proved to be very successful as it allowed me time to get ahead and even go above and beyond my required assignments.
NECB: How did you juggle working and attending college? Any tips you can share with future / current NECB Students?
Nilson: To answer this question I would relate it to a light switch. With the flip of the switch, I would dedicate myself to my professional career, family and other responsibilities. On the flip side, I would be solely focused on being a student. This method enabled me to give all aspects of my life the dedicated time and focus needed to be successful in these areas.
As I was taking my master’s in healthcare management courses, I began applying what I was learning to my job to help solve problems in real-time. It was really exciting to implement what I was learning into my career so quickly as well as be able to share new innovations or projects going on at my company in the class discussions to help provide tangible, real-world examples.
NECB: What’s your biggest takeaway from attending NECB?
Nilson: My biggest takeaway from attending NECB was discovering my love and passion for being in healthcare. Understanding that my peers and professors were just as passionate as I am really helped keep my motivated, encouraging me to learn and apply what I learned to my role. It also gave me the inspiration to mentor aspiring healthcare leaders who share the same passion as me.
NECB: What’s next for you?
Nilson: I am currently the Operations Manager at Beth Israel Medical Center, a position I applied for and was hired after earning my Master’s in Healthcare Management from NECB. In addition, I serve in the Army National Guard as a Medical Operations Officer. Both roles have benefited greatly from my pursuit of a master’s degree from NECB. I plan to continue to give 100% in both roles as it allows me to not only take care of our country’s soldiers but healthcare patients as well.