How clinicians with MBAs can better assist patients: Brigham and Women's Hospital executive explains

After undergoing years of medical training, it can seem daunting to then complete another degree. However, more clinicians are pursuing MBA degrees as the healthcare landscape changes.

Idriz Limaj, RN, executive director of care continuum at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital, is among those clinicians. Since obtaining his MBA, Mr. Limaj has gone out to co-found a digital platform that is transforming traditional nursing staffing models.

Below, Mr. Limaj shares why he went to business school as well as how he is using his MBA to better treat patients.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What inspired you to pursue an MBA degree?

Idriz Limaj: I grew up in a third world country where my family was considered poor. Due to my humble beginnings, I never took money for granted and always wanted to learn more about how to manage it. I initially began my career on the patient side of healthcare, but I was also interested in the business side of the industry. I believed that an MBA would help me learn more about the business aspects of healthcare, so I could play a role in building a healthcare system that not only provides great care, but at the lowest cost possible. I also knew that I wanted to lead, and I believe strongly that every healthcare leader needs to understand the business side as well as the clinical side of the industry.

Q: What skills/insight did you learn from your MBA degree that you have applied to your current role?

IL: My MBA degree has been very useful to me and I apply it to almost everything that I do on a daily basis in my current role as executive director of care continuum at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as chief strategy officer at connectRN. My MBA degree also helped enable me to co-found, connectRN, a digital platform for per diem nurses that is transforming the traditional nurse staffing model and helping to curb the nationwide nursing shortage. My degree prepared me to manage financial aspects of my role, improve my people management skills, and create healthcare payment models, staffing models and organizational structures. 

Q: How do clinicians with MBA degrees set themselves apart?

IL: Clinicians with MBA degrees have an exceptional understanding of patients' needs. Almost every single patient that comes to us has financial questions about their insurance coverage and post-acute payments. Clinicians with MBAs are prepared to answer these questions because they have studied them. These clinicians also have a better understanding of the cost of providing care and how it impacts the healthcare bottom line and the nation as a whole. When making any decision, MBA clinicians are most likely to pursue a comprehensive assessment that takes the patient, department and the organization into account.

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