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Walden Magazine // Jan 05, 2017

Lifelong Learners: Caring Commitment

After getting a bachelor’s in her 40s, Mary Carmel Basuil is ready for her master’s

Mary Carmel Basuil began her role as a caretaker long before she knew it would become her career. Basuil’s father became seriously ill when she was 17, just 2 years after the family moved to California from the Philippines. Although she aspired to attend Stanford as a pre-med student, she opted to stay home to help her mother and four younger siblings take care of her father.

Several years later, when her father recovered and was well enough to return to work, Basuil became trained as an emergency medical technician. Five years later, she went to paramedic school. She eventually became an emergency-trauma department technician at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, California, and Kaiser Permanente in Antioch, California. Then in her mid-40s, she thought again about pursuing higher education.

“Working in emergency medical services doesn’t give a lot of flexibility to go to school,” Basuil says. “But I started slow by taking one class a semester at a community college; then I increased to two classes per semester. One day I saw a commercial on TV promoting online education. I said to myself, ‘I think I can do that.’ That’s how I ended up at Walden.”

Basuil graduated with her BS in Public Health in February 2016. She cites time management as one of the biggest challenges she faced, especially while working 10- to 12-hour days as an emergency department technician at Kaiser Permanente, where she still works. But Basuil decided to challenge herself even more. She enrolled in Walden’s Master of Healthcare Administration only 3 months later.

“I’m really inspired by Walden’s mission of social change, and I’ve taken it on as my personal mission as well,” she says. “I have almost 20 years of experience in the medical field, but I want to move beyond patient care and make an impact on my community through policy changes and education.”

Mary Carmel Basuil and coworker.

Basuil is applying her educational findings directly to her role at Kaiser Permanente. While learning about healthcare financing and budgeting, she started a program in the emergency department that aims to cut down on total usage of medical items and supplies. In the past two quarters, her program has saved the department more than $27,000. In addition, she established a disaster response protocol within the hospital as a result of her disaster management class. She now leads a team that educates the community on how to prepare for natural disasters.

After her anticipated graduation this May, Basuil hopes to obtain a leadership position at Kaiser Permanente. She is actively making herself known among senior leaders and is receiving mentorship from current healthcare administrators. But wherever she winds up, Basuil says her primary goal will always be working to best serve her local community.

“When my father was sick, we were so new to the country that we had no idea how to navigate healthcare,” she says. “I don’t want anyone to have to experience that, which is a huge part of why I’ve pursued these degrees through Walden. I will continue to help people in whatever way I can.”