[People] For the love of healthcare: HealthPartners colleague looks forward to clinical training

Untitled pictureSarah Tupper has 15 plus years of experience in health informatics, and currently works for the health plan as a Senior Health and Care Engagement Consultant at HealthPartners. She is also a Nurse Practitioner trainee and begins her clinical training with HealthPartners in May. In this blog post, she shares with us her passion for healthcare—business and clinical.

What is your current role at HealthPartners?

I work as a senior clinical solutions consultant. I am most involved with high cost case analyses, disease and case management, and work as a bridge between sales and health plan solutions. I was purposeful when looking for an organization that would support and leverage my clinical background along with business expertise, as well as offer clinical training sites for nurse practitioner students.  HealthPartners fit perfectly with what I was looking for.

What made you decide to train as a nurse practitioner?

I graduated from nursing school in 1991. My first nursing job was in a small rural hospital, and then I moved to the Twin Cities and started working in critical care (ICU/CCU) nursing at Fairview Riverside. When it became part of Group Health (the predecessor to HealthPartners), I recognized that there was something special about the Group Health culture.  There was a theme of team work with mutual respect and value for every discipline on the team, and the work was largely evidence based. I wanted to pursue that sort of team and evidence based work. Soon after, I developed a severe latex allergy and had to stop clinical practice. I began working in health informatics—I missed working as a clinical nurse but it let me stay close to the healthcare profession.

After 16 years, when I realized that clinical settings had become latex safe, I decided to give clinical practice another try. During this time, I had also finished a master’s degree in nursing and health systems administration with a minor in health informatics from the University of Minnesota. I always knew that I wanted to return to direct patient care, and when I did, I wanted to practice to the full scope of my training, so I decided to apply to nurse practitioner schools.

What are your expectations from being a trainee at HealthPartners?

I start my first of four clinical rotations in May with HealthPartners. The leader in my current department is highly supportive and flexible with my schedule. There are very few individuals who have gone back to clinical practice after working on the “business side” of healthcare for so long, so it is new but at the same time, exciting. I know that my training will add value to the organization. Having both advanced clinical, healthcare leadership and business experience and training will mean that I can bring an expanded perspective to both the role of Nurse Practitioner and my current role with the health plan.  I see the two roles as being very synergistic.

How will you manage time during your training?

I think that working closely with your leaders is the key. It also helps to focus on only one thing at a time. I make sure that when I’m at work, I am completely focused on my work. When I am at school or studying, I am completely focused on school, and when I’m with my family, I’m completely present with them.

I like to take walks with my dog every day. I also try to include at least one fun activity a week into my schedule. When I start my clinical training, I anticipate I will have to give up some down time, but I know that it will be worth it.

Ultimately, I am looking forward to the synergy between my current knowledge and what I’ll learn in clinical training—and the benefits I will bring to both the business and clinical settings.


[People] 21 Years and Counting: Char Baum Shares her Journey at HealthPartners


If you’ve been inspired by the positive note on OHPE Office’s white board at 8170 10th floor, you have Char Baum to thank.  A habit she developed many years ago when she began her career, teaching children — Char inspires many to start their day right with a positive note every day. She’s a Program Associate with the Office of Health Professional Education and has been a part of HealthPartners for 21 years.

Tell us about your journey through HealthPartners:

21 years ago, I started in an administrative role in the cardiology department at the Riverside Clinic. Soon after, I joined the Center for Organizational Excellence and began working more closely with education. As a result of organizational restructures and many changes, I became involved with recruitment and development — eventually becoming a part of HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education (IME).

I supported the administrator of IME and the Continuing Medical Education team, working with several leaders. I became involved with various aspects of education and helping administer the newly formed Knowledge Bank Fund.

My role at IME morphed into my current role at OHPE when the Institute merged with Research then Park Nicollet to become HealthPartners Institute. I began helping with onboarding of students and many aspects of Advanced Practice.

What do you enjoy the most about your current role?

I enjoy the people I work with. I have always enjoyed working as a team. It gives me joy to look at problems and find solutions as a team — looking for different ways to improve the process. I also like the communication aspect of it, being able to connect with the people that we’re serving.

Tell us about yourself:

I was born and raised in St. Paul. I acquired a teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin. I always wanted to work in education; I used to teach in early childhood education before I joined HealthPartners. I was the first from my father’s side of the family to graduate from college.

I love kids — I have 6 grandchildren who are all 13 and under, and one on the way. I love spending time with them, especially playing sports with them. I have camped since I was young and now enjoy going to my family’s cabin and riding my bike on the trails with friends and family.

Share some lessons and insights you’ve acquired over the years:

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you can’t do everything by yourself — you really need a strong team to rely on. Everyone has a skill set and individual strength, and we can all help each other.

I’ve also learned that you should never be afraid to learn new skills and be flexible about embracing new tools and techniques. To grow, you have to embrace change with a positive attitude. You have to just dig in and start somewhere.

What do you like about working at HealthPartners?

I appreciate the flexibility that HealthPartners offers for its employees. Mary Brainerd is a great leader and always has the community’s best interest in mind. I also like the culture of respect, gratitude, and appreciation. There are always challenges and frustrations but when you have a great leader, it makes a difference.

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I taught Mary Brainerd’s daughter, Mary when she was in kindergarten. She is about the same age as my daughter!

[Community of Practice] A Conversation about Multidisciplinary Engagement

Felix Ankel, MD, VP and Executive Director, Health Professional Education,  starts a conversation about multidisciplinary engagement while wrapping up the 2016 Community of Practice event. Join the conversation — share your ideas with us.

[Community of Practice] Continuing the Conversation

Felix Ankel, MD, VP and Executive Director, Health Professional Education, wrapping up discussions at the 2016 Community of Practice event. Join the conversation — share your ideas with us.

[Community of Practice] Preceptor Support, Mentorship and Value of Trainees

Audience members and panelists discuss preceptor support, mentorship and value of trainees at the 2016 Community of Practice event. Join the conversation — share your ideas with us.