Only a year before graduating from The University of Toledo, Nickolas Speweik was faced with a rather daunting decision.
He could either finish his degree in respiratory care, which he had recently come to realize was a career choice that he no longer felt was right for him, or he could change majors and find a better fit in the healthcare field.
Turns out it was a rather easy choice. Healthcare administration was a major Speweik could pivot to and still use his healthcare course credits to graduate with a minimal delay.
“I’m glad I did because I genuinely think I will enjoy working in the business side of healthcare,” Speweik said. “Having the business minor is great as well because it allows me the flexibility of finding a job outside of healthcare if I want to.”
A December 2020 graduate, Speweik said his career training through UTMC was nothing short of amazing. And his internship in the healthcare administration program was pivotal.
“My time at UTMC prepared me for my career in many ways, but one specifically would be how to handle conflict,” he said, noting he learned a great deal by watching Angie Ackerman, the manager of Orthopedics, resolve issues within her department.
“Wherever people will be, there is bound to be conflict. And I would say that Angie served as a wonderful example for me to follow. She was always calm and collected when bringing up sensitive topics that needed to be discussed, and she did not shy away from responsibility. I really appreciated that about her and I hope to imitate those qualities in my own career.”
Ackerman, administrative director of orthopedic services and outcome management at UTMC, was equally impressed with Speweik.
“Nick was able to integrate his academic learning and interactions with me and the quality department to develop an Orthopaedic Scorecard that will help to advance the process improvement within the Orthopaedic department,” she said. “Nick will be an asset for any company. He has the professional leadership capability, is a creative thinker and has the ability to incorporate new ideas into old concepts.”
Newly graduated and newly married — his second wedding anniversary is in late July — Speweik said he has two immediate goals: to celebrate the former milestones by taking a trip to Europe with his wife and to find a job in his career that will bring him joy.
“As of this year, I am unsure if Europe is going to happen (due to COVID-19 and many other reasons), so I’m moving forward with goal No. 2,” he said. “I’m praying that God will bless me with a job that will bring me joy and contentment in my work.”
Looking back at his time at UTMC, Speweik said that he truly enjoyed building and cultivating relationships with those he worked with.
“I immediately think of my healthcare administration professor Kip Miller. He has been an extremely big help in all things business, even giving me sound advice and wisdom outside of healthcare,” he said. “He’s a guy who’s had lots of life experience in and out of the healthcare field, so I’m grateful for his thoughts and words of wisdom.
“But also,” Speweik added, “the doctors, the managers, the housekeeping staff, all of them at UTMC. I have loved being able to meet people, learn about who they are, and appreciate the hard work that they do at this facility.”
Miller, a lecturer in the College of Health and Sciences, said that, from the first time they met, he knew there was something special about Speweik.
“He was one of those students who went out of his way to talk with me, find out what was necessary to be successful in the healthcare administration program and in my courses,” Miller said.
“As professors, we welcome those students who take the initiative in understanding the program and specifically how to prepare themselves for their career after graduation. Those are the types of interactions that make what I do worthwhile and hopefully meaningful for the student.”