Improving Business Acumen to be a Better Healthcare Leader

Arli Boustead

Arli Boustead

Executive Healthcare MBA
In her role as a healthier communities coordinator, Boustead saw a need for a larger evolution of the healthcare business. Through the Executive Healthcare MBA, she was able to grow her knowledge and learn how to drive change.

Prior to entering the Creighton Executive MBA program in Healthcare Management, Arli Boustead found herself wondering how she could make a difference in the way healthcare leaders and members of the public thought about public health needs.

As a healthier communities coordinator for CHI Health, she worked with three metro-area hospitals and three critical access hospitals in the Omaha area to facilitate engagement of local health departments and community stakeholders, helping hospital leadership teams to prioritize community health needs. Her experience helped her realize that funding community programs was only the first step. 

She says she asked herself, “How do we intentionally partner with community-based partners to create a continuum for patients, and how can partnerships inform business practices for long-term sustainability and business growth that positively impacts the community overall?”

In search of answers, she discovered the Creighton EMBA program in Healthcare Management.

Raising her Healthcare Business Acumen

“[Creighton’s] program brilliantly gives healthcare leaders the tools to build the right culture within their organization and leverage sound business practices,” says Boustead. She adds that this will, “Not only meet the triple aim (improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, improve the health of whole populations, and reduce the cost of care) but also ensure we have a strong workforce for the future.”

Boustead’s education at Creighton helped her build her business acumen, which has enabled her to better understand both members of her organization and the communities with which she works. The program also stressed the importance of knowing the members of your network and learning how to leverage their strengths in pursuit of common goals.

Administrators must rely on physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals in order to solve challenges; they must be collaborative leaders while also relying on their own business sense to make improvements and change.

Since graduating from the EMBA program, Arli Boustead has moved into a new role as a planning and innovation strategist with CHI Health’s Community Benefit Division.

The Future of Leadership in Healthcare

“Healthcare is undergoing a great transformation,” she said when asked about her biggest takeaway as a student. “It will take years, maybe decades to realize a system that is not only sustainable but also truly delivers what our communities need.” While “change is the only constant,” an industry in flux allows for driven individuals to leave their mark while working in pursuit of the greater good.

Boustead is grateful for her experience and the courage to take the first step. She’ll also cherish the relationships she’s built with the 11 other members of the inaugural cohort of the Creighton Healthcare EMBA program for years to come.

In sharing advice for prospective students considering the program, she recommends taking a close look at the curriculum and courses. Being excited about the subject matter and understanding what you want to achieve will help you make the most of your tenure as a student.

She also advises not to be discouraged if you lack business knowledge going in. “This program will give those with potential for executive-level leadership knowledge of what is important to consider, and how to collaborate with other leaders to make good things happens,” she said.

One particular quote gave Boustead the strength to overcome long study sessions and difficult moments. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage,” by Anais Nin.

Ultimately for Arli Boustead, “Life has certainly expanded greatly!”

Learn more about the Executive MBA program in Healthcare Management at Creighton University.