For a lifelong dancer, Sanchita Sharma doesn't tiptoe around why she got into healthcare.
"A very clichéd answer is that I wanted to help people," she said, "I knew I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to go home feeling, 'Today, I made a change in the world.' That's why I knew I wanted to be in something regarding healthcare."
After graduating from Drexel in 2014 with a bachelor in health science, Sharma knew she would eventually pursue a doctorate in physical therapy because of her strong background in dance and her desire to help.
Dr. Sharma, I Presume?
“I still do want to pursue my doctorate in physical therapy and I do hope to get into West Coast University's program. I love the way it is structured. I love the faculty of the program. They all seem like they strive to become the best physical therapists there are.”
"I wanted to pursue a field which would kind of bridge both and I felt physical therapy — working with dancers, treating all the injuries that I've gone through my entire life was essentially one place I see myself being," she said. "But if I wanted to establish my own facility, not only would I need a clinical background, but also a clerical background and an administrative background."
After researching schools online, she decided to enroll in to West Coast University's online master of health administration program and graduated in November 2016. Sharma now works as a hospital services manager for New Jersey Sharing Network, a non-profit organ procurement organization.
As a liaison with three hospitals in central New Jersey, Sharma is with the physician when a family is approached for organ and tissue donation. She also conducts physician education, orientations, educates new hospital staff and consults on clinical tests done to confirm a patient’s death.
“It's a pretty emotional job I guess, but you just focus on the good that you're doing and how many lives you're saving because of one person who unfortunately passed away,” she said. “It's very bittersweet because you want to be happy for all these people but at the same time another family is grieving.”
Prior to graduation, Sharma was on Facebook one day and watched an emotional video of a mother listening to her son's heart beat for the first time in another child. Months later she learned that the New Jersey Sharing Network had worked with the parents in the video.
“Some people are very good, very positive about the donation. They keep in touch with their recipient families,” she said. “Other people just tend to not want to have to deal with that and just want to move on with their lives. Every human reacts differently to this whole process.”
Sharma said many of the skills she learned in WCU's online graduate program help her every day at her new job.
While researching schools to attend, Sharma was attracted by WCU's smaller class size and the one-on-one attention students would receive. Now she credits the faculty and program director Dr. Justin Ako for the MHA program's structure and teachings.
"They help you, guide you through the program to be successful," Sharma said. "Now that I've graduated with my master in health administration, I see how my learnings are being used now in this job and I'm more and more thankful that I actually pursued this degree because I have a lot more insight in certain situations."