The South Carolina Society of Hospitals Materials Management (SCSHMM), a personal membership group of the South Carolina Hospital Association, has been taking proactive steps to ensure a pathway for students looking to join their profession.
Anderson University students Marissa Black and Sara Walenceus recently attended the national conference for the Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) thanks to their efforts. AHRMM is the largest membership group for healthcare supply chain professionals and the conference is a great place to learn more about the profession and grow a network. The students’ travel, food and registration fees were paid through a joint effort between the University SCSHMM and AHRMM as a way to support and inspire the next generation of healthcare workers.
For Walanceus and Black, their engagement with both SCSHMM and AHRMM has been revelatory.
“When Sara and I attended the South Carolina Society of Hospital Materials Management (SCSHMM) Conference in May 2018, we presented about our experience with Anderson University’s Supply Chain program,” recalls Black, who credits their professor Kim Whitehead, for encouraging them to attend.
“Throughout both conferences, we were able to network with many healthcare professionals, learn more about the healthcare industry, and it even inspired us to write a case study depicting the shipping/receiving issues faced by the healthcare supply chain. We were fascinated by the healthcare supply chain and wanted to learn more.”
It was those connections and their enthusiasm for the field which led to their attendance at the AHRMM national conference, an experience which proved invaluable in their understanding and investigation of the profession.
“We were able to network with professionals from different types of healthcare organizations including members of the AHRMM board,” points out Walanceus. “Everyone we met had advice for us about our careers, and we gained insight into the details of healthcare supply chain issues. I learned about topics like value analysis, the EVS supply chain and managing freight spend, and considered how healthcare is different from other industries. For example, the procurement team has to work with clinicians to determine what products will result in the best patient care. There is a myriad of issues with that aspect of the job as a purchasing professional.”
“Learning about the healthcare supply chain gave me a different perspective about what is required to run a successful hospital,” offers Black. “Hospitals are not just run by doctors and nurses—they could not function without their purchasing team ensuring that doctors and surgeons have the right materials at the right time. Occasionally these decisions are life or death, and one has the opportunity to make a difference even if it’s just by ensuring that the needed product is high quality and available for the surgery.”
Both Black and Walanceus cite the experience they’ve had with SCSHMM and AHRMM as invaluable to their professional education as they begin charting out their careers and believe the access to SCSHMM has opened up a new professional world that their academic experiences only hinted at.