Career Profile: Medical and Health Services Manager - James Wade Atkins
James Wade Atkins, M.S., Medical and Health Services Manager, Clinical Center, Department of Transfusion Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education
I chose this career because…
I chose to become a medical and health services manager because I’ve always loved science. My sisters teased me from the time I was little because I frequently asked, “Why?”
As early as junior high, I thought I would become a doctor. I started taking pre-med classes when I entered college. However, I discovered that I liked the laboratory sciences better than the idea of working with people as a physician. So I opted for a career in clinical laboratory science. Entrance into the program was very competitive, but I was among the 8 applicants accepted from my class out of the 10 available slots. There were over 50 applicants for those 10 slots. I completed the intense 1-year program, and began my working career.
• Bachelor of Science, Biology, Pfeiffer College, Misenheimer, North Carolina
• Master of Science, General Administration, University of Maryland University College, College Park, Maryland
• Medical Technology
• Specialist in Blood Banking
My typical workday involves…
My typical workday is spent solving problems and auditing procedures that involve patients’ blood samples. Some of our laboratory technologists jokingly refer to me as “the police”. Actually, it is not a joking matter; we work as a team for quality assurance. We are directly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who routinely carry out inspections at our facility. We are also subject to inspections and peer review by the Joint Commission, and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), whose mission is to protect patients and the nation’s blood supply.
My main duties are:
• Auditing – laboratory procedures for compliance with the law
• Evaluating – new protocols and equipment before implementation
• Documenting – tests, procedures, and work that we do
What I like best and least about my work …
What I like best about my work is problem solving and working with teams to come up with creative solutions. A creative solution is one that is compliant but also meets the needs of the diverse patient population we serve.
What I like least about my work is what we call “record review.” This means we must review the records we have for each process to ensure they are accurate, complete, and compliant.
My career goals are…
My career goals are to become the secretary of Health and Human Services. To accomplish this, I need a Ph.D. in health care policy and the right political connections. There are several local colleges and universities that offer this degree program. I believe I have the skills to lead a team of health care professionals to formulate the best solution for the country’s health care.