As one of the oldest and most respected healthcare administration programs, the University of Minnesota annually graduates some of the nation's best and brightest students.
But in what may be a blip on the screen or an omen of things to come, none of Minnesota's 29 graduates of the healthcare administration program this year chose a hospital fellowship, said George O. Johnson, the program's director.
"The role model (for first-year students) is still the hospital administrator; but once they get into the field, they see the hospital piece as the mature part of the business," Johnson said.
While six of Minnesota's graduates chose fellowships at healthcare systems, Johnson said those students will work in systems' managed-care or physician management subsidiaries.
In the 1980s, fewer graduates of health administration programs chose hospital jobs. For example, 49% of 800 graduates in 1988 chose hospital careers, compared with 55% of 1,094 in 1981, according to the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.
Although AUPHA has discontinued tracking employment data, experts believe the trend has accelerated with more graduates seeking careers in managed care, physician management or consulting.
At the University of Michigan, 16 of 43 graduates have selected fellowships at hospitals or healthcare systems, said John Griffith, chairman of the department of health services management and policy.
Joel Shalowitz, director of the health services administration program at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., said six of 40 graduates this year chose hospitals or healthcare systems.
"The majority are going into the supply side or consulting," Shalowitz said. "With systems forming and hospitals downsizing, a lot are looking for experienced people, not just graduates."