08:48 AM

UHCL alumnus feels trained, prepared for career as hospital CEO

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights in Texas has a new CEO beginning Aug. 3. Patrick Swindle, who completed his Master of Healthcare Administration from University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2011, said the training and mentorship he received from his professors prepared him well to do the job.

“I chose to come to UHCL for my master’s degree for several reasons,” Swindle said. “The Healthcare Administration program is located in the Texas Medical Center, which had a lot of appeal to me. Also, the program is self-paced because it’s designed for people who are currently employed and you can take as many or as few classes as you can work into your schedule. And this program is very affordable, which was important to me as well.”

Swindle took the maximum course loads and was able to graduate in three semesters and a summer. “Other universities make you follow their program and it’s about 2 ½ years long, but I wanted to get done quickly and I could do that at UHCL,” he said.

He said he particularly appreciated learning from professors who had been former hospital executives themselves. “I enjoyed hearing from people who had been in those roles. I had great professors like (Department Chair in Healthcare Administration) Raymond Khoury. I loved hearing from profs who had sat in the chair before. They didn’t just speak from books or theory, they spoke from personal experience as high-ranking executives in hospitals,” he said. “Listening to them talk about their experiences opened my eyes, allowed me to ask more questions, and gave me more perspectives. It reinforced to me while I was in graduate school that I did want to do this and I knew I could make a mark in this profession.”

Before receiving this promotion, Swindle was CEO for five years at UT Health Quitman and UT Health Pittsburg, both in East Texas.

“What’s so great about this program is that when you’re taking classes in the Texas Medical Center, you are surrounded by the best hospitals in the world and you’re with classmates who are already working in health care,” Swindle said. “I learned about healthcare administration, but during group projects, I was working with people actually in the industry. The key to the program is the exposure to industry beyond the classwork.”

As he begins his new position at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights in a few weeks, Swindle said he knows he’s well prepared. “My education taught me to be more aggressive and seek out opportunities,” he said. “My professors reinforced to me that my goal was attainable, and they kept encouraging me to pursue it.”

Learn more about UHCL’s Healthcare Administration program online.