Education in the field of health care is imperative throughout one’s career. Professionals in the health care industry need to stay on top of the latest developments in the world of science and medicine. New medications, information, diseases and nutritional developments happen on a daily basis. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania‘s Mary K. Walton received her degrees at University of Pennsylvania, but continues her education by attending conferences that pertain to her specialized field. She stresses that it is also important to get firsthand experiences so surrounding yourself with peers and learning from their experiences is a wonderful way to educate yourself. Having someone who can tell you what has worked for them or hasn’t worked for them can help you approach a problem with a different perspective.

(Photo Courtesy of Mary K. Walton)

(Photo Courtesy of Mary K. Walton)

Where did you get your degree?

“I earned my bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degree in Nursing as well as my master’s in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania.”

Can you describe your duties as a health care admin?

“At this point in my career, I lead a hospital-based clinical ethics committee and a clinical ethics consulting service. I also co-chair a patient and family advisory council. I design and lead professional development programs for clinical staff, design and lead quality improvement projects and develop new services and resources to improve the patient experience.”

How has education prepared you for your career as a health care administrator?

“My education has been integral not only in developing and deepening my knowledge base, but also in helping me develop proficiency in application of that knowledge to the practice setting.”

What continuing education is required for your role?

“It’s important to me to stay ahead in my field, so I am constantly reading relevant literature, and I frequently attend national and international meetings in my area of specialty. Some of my most important learning has been in collaboration with colleagues.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at

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