Sister Nancy Linenkugel
One of the daily privileges in my role at Xavier University as Chair of the Department of Health Services Administration is to work one-on-one with students in their quest for an administrative residency.
Xavier is one of 67 accredited graduate HSA programs in the US, is one of two accredited programs in Ohio, and is one of only a handful of programs that still requires the 8-12 month administrative residency. The residency makes our program a three-year journey toward the MHSA degree. Ask any of our 1,408 alumni about the most memorable and worthwhile part of their graduate work in our program, and every person will cite the year-long residency. While many other programs require a 90-day or six-week residency, Xavier still maintains the entire year. I join my fellow alumni in appreciating my administrative residency year as unique, unparalleled, and formative.
So it's no wonder that our second-year students think about residency opportunities from the beginning of the program, start applying at the beginning of the second-year, and agonize from that day forward until a residency offer is made--and accepted. It is these worried, fretting, anxious young men and women with whom I work. It's true--every Xavier MHSA student has always gotten a residency. It's true--we have plenty of residency opportunities for consideration. And it's also true that we have wonderfully generous alumni who enjoy serving as residency preceptors and couldn't be more helpful in offering residency opportunities.
That's all adult-speak from experienced persons who have confidence. Translate that into the real world of our students, most of whom carry the natural anxieties of being graduate students diligently maintaining their rigorous studies and who live in an "answers right now" generation. Patience may be a virtue, but it's part of how the older generation thinks.
Many a student has sat with me, soul-searching as to why a residency interview could have gone better or lamenting why a classmate received the residency offer instead or why someone else already received a residency offer and he/she did not. I turn on my broken-record response: "There's a place for you and it's just not at XXX. God has a plan for you." The student looks at me, disbelieving.
Of course, I believe that totally. There IS a plan for each of us. And oftentimes it's not what we would pick for ourselves. "Why in the world wasn't I selected for residency YYY? I really wanted to go there." There's a better place ahead. We just need faith that it exists. And the students really do end up believers--eventually.