Life beyond the ward

When Jessie Yang returned to China in 1997 after training for two years in the Singapore health system, she was brimming with passion to improve Chinese health care.

“My time in Singapore opened my mind and gave me a big view for how care should be, but when I came back I realised I couldn’t change the whole hospital system by myself, so I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll change me!’” said Ms Yang (MHA ’15).

China’s first joint venture hospital, the Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics, was in the process of opening its doors, so Ms Yang jumped at the chance to sign up with its first workers. With a new style of privatised health delivery, the hospital initially became the destination of choice for ailing international travellers covered by health insurance.

“We had to perform a lot of different roles initially – it turned out this was an opportunity to learn different aspects of health care from different perspectives and it has been very useful in my career,” Ms Yang said.

After being appointed associate general manager of the organisation, Ms Yang realised she wanted to learn more perspectives and techniques for hospital management.

An online search quickly took her to Flinders’ Master of Healthcare Administration, taught in Beijing through the University’s partnership with China’s prestigious Nankai University.

“The professor from Flinders University really gave us a lot of ideas that could be directly applied to my job. It gave us a view from a different perspective about how a hospital could be set up,” she said.

“I miss working on the ward sometimes, but in my job now I can help all the support staff understand what needs to be done from a nursing perspective, and also try to create better support systems.”

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