Thomas Kmetz

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Health Services Management

Did you come to UK knowing you wanted to pursue a career in health sciences? How did you choose your profession? 

I did indeed know that I would pursue healthcare as a career. My original plan was to go to Medical School, but as I learned about the program in Health Services Management, I pursued leadership roles instead. The concepts of finance and organizational behavior clearly excited me, but I didn’t want to apply these concepts for a simple product or service. Doing so in healthcare allowed me to pursue my passions around these concepts, and make a difference in my community. In the end, I liked what physicians did, but didn’t like what they needed to know. The College of Health Sciences helped me understand that.  

What is the best advice you received from a CHS faculty member? 

I have a memory of a lecture when taking a general management course in the College of Health Sciences that was specific to leadership. There are many facets to the question of “what makes a great leader”. What stuck with me was not necessarily passion or self confidence or emotional stability or so many other traits of a good leader. These are all important, but what stood out for me is that leaders must paint a solid picture of the future, then they must ensure they build trust and “take people with you”. I’d like to think I live up to that both personally and professionally.  

Do you have any favorite anecdotes from being a student in CHS? 

Group projects! Working alone is by far easier and quicker, but the creativity and solutions that come from group project work is far superior. I remember many group projects that taught us specific content, yet also challenged us as leaders and team members. As I look back, I don’t remember the content of the courses as much as I remember growing as a team member and leader.  

What do you love about your job? 

Those of us who work in healthcare are doing noble work. The sick and infirmed come to us at their most vulnerable state and it becomes our duty and responsibility to help restore them to a more healthful place. I take great comfort in knowing that by organizing healthcare services, I am able to touch the lives of many in a positive way. 

How do you stay inspired professionally? 

Working in healthcare takes a certain amount of resilience. We have organizational setbacks, we sometimes fail to achieve our goals, we lose patients, our systems fail, our care givers make mistakes. All of this takes a toll. When these things happen in my work environment, I will spend some time focusing on the many successes we have enjoyed and knowing that most of the time, “we get it right”! 

What advice do you have for students in CHS now? 

To some extent, we all want to be the life of the party, be included and to be social - which is great - to an point. These aren’t necessarily the individuals that will excel in their careers or make substantial improvement in other peoples lives. The individuals that excel more often than not are the ones who are smart, work hard, manage their time well, focus and are passionate at what they are doing. Find something you are passionate about and have fun making it happen.