Seth Whitmer on healthcare administration

Seth Whitmer has been serving communities as a healthcare administrator for many years. He was born in Arizona and raised in Utah. He began working at the age of 14 when his father passed away. He was obliged to assist in supporting his six brothers and sisters. He was hired at a fencing business where he worked until he graduated from high school. Seth had many hours unaccompanied while he worked keeping the fencing yard property clean and tidy. He had time to explore his values and his future. He concluded that home, family, church, and community were the things that he valued unconditionally.

Seth Whitmer earned his bachelor's degree in health administration from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

After graduating with his bachelor's degree, Seth Whitmer began his career in the healthcare industry working in long-term care. During his time within the long-term care industry he was mentored by hospital CEO who had encouraged him to earn his master's degree.

Seth Whitmer went on to earn his master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. While attending the University of Washington Seth met his wife Megan. They are happily married and now have five children.

Tell us a bit about what you do.

I am a healthcare administrator. This position is quite variable, and as such there is no “typical day-at-the-office”. There is a lot of interaction with people, and a lot of problem-solving that goes on during the day. We strategize and communicate to come up with the best solutions. The two main things that I do is work with people and I problem-solve.

What gave you the idea to go into healthcare administration? How did it start?

During school I was always fascinated by the healthcare industry. When I discovered a career path in healthcare administration, I fell in love with it. After I graduated, I found work in this field immediately and have been there ever since.

What’s your favorite thing about your chosen profession?

My favorite thing about my career is that I get to work with people. It is the communication and the friends I get to make. I like to see people improving and achieving success. Personally, that is my favorite thing about my career.

What keys to being productive can you share with us?

The key to being productive is having a plan. The plan doesn't have to be set in stone, but you should have a plan. You should be flexible in how you address this. Also don't ever think that you're the smartest person. Open communication is also important. Meaning, you're listening to other people's ideas and allowing feedback on yours. Some of the best decisions that I've made were in a group setting where everyone could express their thoughts and ideas freely. I guess the takeaway here is the way to success is having a plan, listening to others, and working hard. So much of our success is our will to make it happen.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career

My long-term goal is to continue to be someone that people can rely upon and look to for leadership. That is really my long-term goal, to be consistent, reliable, and honest in everything that I do.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

There are so many things that I've learned throughout my career. However, the most valuable lesson that I've learned during this time has nothing to do with my career. Instead, I attribute who I am to my family. The most valuable lesson that I've learned is that my career does not make me who I am. Who I am as a person, and the things that I do when I leave work are most important to me. It is the time I spend with my family, the things that I spend my thoughts and dwell upon, and people I interact with that make me, me. Frankly, if all of my thoughts are focused on my job, then what does that make me? A drone? Staying focused on what is really important and keeping that focus during tough times is what I have learned over the years to be most important. It is who I am and who I am making myself into.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

The advice I would give to others aspiring to enter this field is that it is rare that a decision that has to be made immediately. Most decisions can be sat on for a day or two before making them. It is incredibly important before making a decision to sit on it for a moment to think about it, reflect, and gather more information. It is okay to not make a decision immediately if it is not time sensitive. On the rare occasion when a decision is time sensitive, regardless of the outcome, you must always accept the consequences of the outcomes. It doesn't do any good to criticize a past decision, rather, see where you went wrong and improve on it the next time. If you take the time to strategize, the severity of consequences will likely diminish. Also, be careful what you say. You never know who is listening, and negativity will only dampen the situation. Anything that you say in a leadership position will inevitably get shared.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

My favorite thing to do outside of work is to be with my family. I enjoy spending time with them and doing activities with them. I love to write and and am currently working on completing a novel. Aside from the family, archery and shooting are hobbies of mine. Being outdoors is one thing that brings me solitude. I love those moments when I can be by myself and decompress.

Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding was influential to me. My wife and I are yin and yang in opinion about this book. However, I read it in grade school, and it had a large impact on me. The social interactions amazed me, and I could see parallels of the interactions between me and others in my life back then to the book.

The Bible has also helped me immensely throughout my life. It gave me principals, values, morals, and ethics to live by. It has laid out the foundation to live my life.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self not to dwell in the past, learn from it and move on. Live in the moment, enjoy the happiness, and embrace the sadness because it will pass. I would share the words of Vergil, a historic Latin poet when he said, "Endure and save yourself for those days of happiness that lie ahead.'' No matter what, there are always happier days ahead.

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