University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Badylak-Reals Blogs Her Way into Conference Spotlight

Senior Industrial Engineering major Jenn Badylak-Reals not only attended the Society for Health Systems (SHS) Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference, held from March 1 to 4 in New Orleans, but she presented a poster, and, beyond that, the conference website highlighted her astute critique of the conference on its homepage. “Fortunately for me,” Badylak-Reals posted, “my phenomenal engineering career center and father have taught me the necessity of networking and to pay forward my effort and work to set myself up for a happier and more successful situation later on. Thus it was a no-brainer for me, an industrial engineering student interested in the healthcare industry, to attend this year’s conference.” Read her entire critique: healthcare-systems-process-improvement-conference-2013/.

One highlight of the conference for Badylak-Reals was her poster presentation. “I did get accepted to present a poster of one of my projects from my summer 2012 internship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center,” she said about her project to improve workforce planning. “For this project I was able to use my forecasting techniques learned in one of my courses to apply to forecasting how many staff members would call out [sick] on a given day throughout the year. They would schedule extra people based on how many might call out.”

The conference served as a centralized resource for the latest in operational and quality improvement tools for productivity, benchmarking, simulation, and project management in the healthcare industry. The conference program included pre-conference workshops; educational sessions; ample networking events and opportunities; exhibitors with products and services to help meet quality, process, and project goals; poster sessions; and presentations by student paper competition winners.

“The SHS conference epitomizes the concept of networking,” explained Badylak-Reals. “Starting with the student welcome network session to the opening reception, I was surprised by the excitement and interest everyone was showing in sharing knowledge and meeting new people. These attendees sure know the importance of networking and have it down to a science: listening and helping others with anything, from the issues in the workplace to the best mountains to ski in New Hampshire.”

Badylak-Reals added that “At the student networking session I was able to trade ideas of helpful course and locations of internships with fellow students. While at the full conference reception I was able to learn from industry leaders about current issues in hospitals and gather suggestions on courses, software, and skills which will help me excel as an engineer in a healthcare setting. This was exactly the information I needed to complete my college career of knowledge.” (April 2013)