Nursing MBA Offers a New Perspective, Opportunities, On Health Care


Sally Bethea always had a head for business and a heart for taking care of people. She followed her heart and got a nursing degree from South Carolina State University, working for a spell as a floor nurse at Providence Hospital in Columbia.

A series of personal tragedies – the death of her father and her four-year-old son, and cancer diagnoses of her own – sidelined Sally while she dealt with her grief. Fearful about caring for others while she was struggling to care for herself, Sally took a job in the corporate world, further feeding her interest in the business.

Today Sally is working part-time and attending the MBA program with an optional concentration in Healthcare Management at South Carolina State with an emphasis on healthcare management. She plans to use the degree and her clinical experience to enter healthcare management, ultimately serving as the chief nursing officer or CEO of a mental health facility.

“Having gone through grief, my interest is in mental health,” she says. “There are so many stereotypes about mental illness, but it’s actual illness.”

SC State describes the program as “designed for individuals who wish to understand the challenges of managing healthcare delivery systems in today’s complex business environment.” A hybrid in-class/online 36-credit program, it includes eight core business courses like accounting, information systems, and global business perspectives, and four healthcare management courses, like a policy, organizational behavior and system delivery.

Though Sally lives and works near the Orangeburg campus, Lowcountry residents can attend the in-class part of the program at the Lowcountry Graduate Center (LGC).  (Nancy Muller, LGC Director and Associate Dean of, teaches in the program.)

The career opportunities for a healthcare MBA are broad. Graduates are prepared to serve as administrator on the executive track in healthcare facilities of all types. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand is robust for health service managers and their median income was $98,380.

Among the job markets of the LGC’s targeted sectors in the Lowcountry, medical and health services manager positions represent one of the very largest, with nearly 150 such positions requiring graduate level education such as SC State’s MBA, advertised online in 2017 alone.  An additional 75-80 nurse management positions were posted last year as well.

Click here for more information about the MBA program.

Sally will graduate at the end of 2018. She says her experience has given her a broader perspective of the healthcare system than she had at the bedside. And she highly recommends it to RNs seeking more opportunities.

“You know how to do patient care, but you don’t know how to run a facility,” she says. “This program gives you the tools.”