Alumni Spotlight: Sandra Johnson, UF MHA Class of 2021

UF MHA graduate Sandra Johnson revisits her experience as a part-time student in the program and its impact on her career and professional development.

Sandra Johnson, UF MHA Class of 2021, has always enjoyed being able to make decisions which will impact patients for the better. Now, as UF College of Medicine’s Director of Healthcare Administration for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN), Johnson has the ability to make that lasting positive difference.

Sandra Johnson, UF MHA Class of 2021

As a part-time UF MHA student, Johnson was afforded the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings prior-to and while in pursuit of her graduate degree, entering the classroom with over a decade of “real-world” experience from the UF Department of Pediatrics. Johnson notes that receiving the unique higher leadership perspective from UF MHA faculty at that time became instrumental in developing critical thinking skills applicable to her previous and current roles.

“I already had experience in healthcare and was later than most of my peers to graduate the program. So really, it was the fellowship and comradery that became essential to me. The alumni and network expansion as a result of the UF MHA program has helped immensely in knowing who to connect with for the appropriate resource, advice, or answers I needed in various situations.”

The UF Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently received a top designation for maternal care, indicating that it had proven its superiority in on-site medical and surgical care for complex maternal conditions as well as critically ill pregnant women and fetuses. The department has experienced large growth as a team which has provided opportunities for Johnson to learn and adjust her leadership skills.

In her role as Director of Healthcare Administration, Johnson currently oversees a variety of operations. She supervises human resources administration, manages faculty recruitment searches, plans for strategic growth and development opportunities, supervises clinical operations for all of the OBGYN sites, and holds final authority over budget and finance. She particularly is proud of the ability to learn an entirely new business structure compared to her previous positions. “All of the surgical and clinical aspects are different,” she explains. “One patient goes in, but then two come out as a result and there are many logistical ripple effects.”

Her resilience in multi-managing various responsibilities is not a foreign concept for Johnson. She recalls receiving her acceptance letter to the UF MHA program while she was pregnant with her third child:

“My first two semesters, I was pregnant and appreciated the support system I had at home as well as at work from friends and family. Not long after, I had three children with a full-time job for the remaining seven semesters [of the UF MHA program]. I breastfed and would need to leave class to pump and come back. My professors were accommodating and very helpful of my situation prior to giving birth all the way through postpartum and understood the dynamic of family life at home.”

Johnson encourages individuals considering a healthcare administration career path with two statements of wisdom, (1) Don’t be afraid to try something new, and (2) Know your limits. “It’s never too late to do what you strongly feel to do,” Johnson explains. “And know when something is not for you. Be able to say no and move on to [a path] that will work for you. No one needs to be miserable in a job. If you try and fail, you at least learn something valuable and carry it with you.”

In her spare time, Johnson enjoys tending to the cattle on her farm, and other times can be found camping or traveling with her children and family.