February 29, 2016 --
It is not every day that one earns a distinguished milestone within a professional field, but Lt. Cmdr. Donald Mitchell, senior nurse executive at Naval Branch Health Clinic-Albany, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, has achieved just that.
According to a Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs news release, Mitchell recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare administrations.
Mitchell discussed the prerequisites leading up to the recent accomplishment, his motivation for pursuing the feat, the potential impact on his professional career and the rigorous process he endured in achieving the ‘fellow’ status.
“You (must) have a graduate degree in a healthcare business-related field, whether it’s a (Masters in Business Administration) or (Masters in Healthcare Administration),” Mitchell said. “Then, you must have tenure within the organization; that is, you have to be a dues-paid member a minimum of three years. These are the prerequisites.
“It started back when I was stationed at (Naval Station) Mayport, Florida,” Mitchel recounted. “A good friend of mine – a retired lieutenant now – Ann Marie Knight, was the president of the local chapter there. She started telling me, if I wanted to be taken seriously in the healthcare profession, I needed to get this certification. I needed to go back to school and get my MBA; get my MHA or whatever, then, become a fellow.
“So, my quest started probably back in 2010,” he continued. “The process is multifaceted; one part is a comprehensive exam, which is around 200 questions. I spent many nights trying to stay awake; trying to get my studying in and it paid off.
“The American College of Healthcare Executives is all about shining a bright light on the communities in which we serve,” Mitchell explained. “So, the second part is the many things you have to do to attain the fellowship; that’s from community service, to participating in different events, to volunteerism – you name it. Finally, you have to be recommended by your peers; the recommendation is a big piece (in the process)."
Mitchell credits successful achievement of his fellowship to his commander, who allowed him flexibility in fulfilling his many requirements.
“It is amazing (when) I look back at it, the one thing I can say is my boss, Commander (Raymond) Bristol, is awesome,” Mitchell concluded. “He was very supportive of me in attaining this goal, this dream of mine. I can honestly say, had it not been for him giving me the necessary time to do it, it probably would not have been possible.”
Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. In fact, only 9,100 healthcare executives hold this distinction, according to the recent news release highlighting Mitchell’s achievement.