Chicago Healthcare Executives Forum recognizes Loyola alumna with leadership award
This spring, the Chicago Healthcare Executives Forum honored Jordan Wirtz (BS ‘17) with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Administrative Fellow Leadership Award. The award recognizes the achievements of an outstanding administrative fellow at a Chicago area healthcare organization who has achieved noteworthy success in project formulation and analysis, academic coursework, professional paper publication, or professional and organizational leadership.
Since graduating from Loyola University Chicago in 2017, Wirtz has built an impressive career in healthcare administration. She earned her master’s in health systems management from Rush University and completed an administrative fellowship at UChicago Medicine. Today, she is the practice manager for Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Chicago Medicine.
Learn more about Wirtz, her career, and how her Loyola education provided a strong foundation for her future:
Why did you originally decide to pursue a career in HCA?
I was drawn to health care at an early age, but always thought I would end up being a provider. I started my undergraduate career as a biology major and got involved in various pre-dental activities, including participating in a Global Brigade to Ghana. I enjoyed my experience so much that I decided to lead a brigade to Panama shortly after. As a leader, I was tasked with acquiring medical supplies, coordinating and scheduling logistics, and interviewing volunteers/providers. I quickly ;realized that I loved the behind the scenes” work of health care much more than being patient-facing. From that point, I added a business minor and changed my degree to health systems management and haven’t looked back. I love the business of health care; it’s always evolving.
What was it about your Loyola HCA experience that impacted you (and your career) the most?
My time as a Loyola Health Systems Management (HSM) student really gave me a solid foundation for my healthcare administration career – from learning about social determinants of health, to Gantt charts, to calculating FTEs (full-time equivalents), I was truly prepared to begin the next chapter as a student of the Master of Science in Health Systems Management program at Rush University. I was extremely confident starting my master's degree with the knowledge I obtained at Loyola; it allowed me to hit the ground running and get through my degree with ease.
What does it mean to receive the ACHE Administrative Fellow Leadership Award?
This award is very special to me. My time as an administrative fellow at UChicago Medicine has been the most eye-opening experience; I was able to participate in our senior leadership meetings, rotate through 13 different hospital departments and be mentored by some of our senior executives. My administrative fellowship was extremely unique because I witnessed my organization respond to a nursing strike and a global pandemic. These situations provided me with plenty of opportunities to step up and help in any way that I could. One of my most memorable projects was working to stand up our COVID-19 testing site at our main campus (this included putting on a Tyvek suit and checking in patients to relieve our staff for their lunch break!). Once we got comfortable with operations, I was tasked with project managing the opening of another COVID-19 testing site in the heart of the South Side community. We opened the site in about a week but found that we were short staffed. I volunteered to help manage the site for about three weeks in addition to my other responsibilities. This experience was extremely special because I was able to interact with patients in their communities, learn about their fears of COVID, and do what I could to help provide comfort. That experience will stick with me throughout my career.
What are your top three pieces of advice to other undergraduate HCA students at Loyola’s Parkinson School?
My top three are:
- Find a mentor and maintain the relationship. Mentorship has been so important for me since my time as an HSM student at Loyola. Chances are your mentor will understand any challenges you are facing in your career and provide you with their firsthand experiences to help you navigate your way. Beyond that, it is a great feeling knowing that you have people cheering on your successes.
- Take advantage of opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. While it may be a little scary at first, I always have found that these are the opportunities that lead to growth, both personally and professionally.
- Ask questions! There is no such thing as a “silly question,” and the only way to learn something you do not know is to ask! Asking questions when you do not know something helps ensure you do your work correctly the first time.