As companies become more focused on maintaining relationships among their employees and working on interdepartmental cooperation, having a background in psychology or other organizational degrees alongside training in the health care field can improve workplace cohesion. This additional component is valuable to those looking to move up in the workforce or gain a new position.

Rachel Woodrume, human resources manager, Grace Care Center of Northpointe (photo courtesy of Rachel Woodrume)

Rachel Woodrume, human resources manager, Grace Care Center of Northpointe (photo courtesy of Rachel Woodrume)

Rachel Woodrume, now the human resources mhuanager at Grace Care Center of Northpointe, discusses how her degrees and continuing education in psychology have helped her find her place in the health care industry and allow her to help others — by supporting the well-being of the doctors and nurses that she works with.

What does your current position in health and human resources entail?

“Currently, I am the Human Resources Manager at Grace Care Center of Northpointe in Tomball, Texas. I am responsible for recruiting, orientation, employee relations, benefits, payroll, terminations, mediation, safety, workers compensation and anything else that happens to come up in an H.R. capacity. Basically, I am the first and last point of contact for all employees.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for it?

“I feel my education prepared me for this role in many ways. Studying psychology helps me understand different types of people and different types of leaders. Before you can offer support to these individuals, you have to try to see things from their perspective. The more you can understand where the person is coming from, the more you can help them not only personally but also from the business perspective. The most important asset of the organization is its people. If the company does not know how to reach their people, the company will not be successful. On the other hand, there is still a business to run. H.R. cannot be effective if it does not understand the business. While the M.B.A. has helped me understand businesses on the whole, every H.R. professional needs to get into the trenches of their organization to truly help and be effective.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education since beginning this position?

“Yes. I am thankful to work for a supervisor and organization that values continuing education. Not only do we have online training that is mandatory for all employees, but I am able to go to H.R. meetings in and around the city including the Houston Gulf Coast Symposium. This helps me stay in tune with other H.R. professionals to see what issues they have, what solutions they have come up with and how I can apply this information to my own organization. It’s also valuable to stay on top of employment law issues and the legal issues every company faces.”

Do you have any advice for people who would be interested in pursuing a career in health and human resources?

“There are many things that come to mind, but first and foremost I would tell people to be sure this is what they want to do. Health care H.R. is not a field for everyone and dealing with people on a daily basis can be exhausting if you do not have the stamina and desire to want to truly help people. Also, one must be able to see things from an objective standpoint, realizing there are multiple sides to a story and every perspective is usually correct. The role of H.R. is to find the balance and come up with a solution that benefits the organization and its employees. Lastly, the support of family and friends is critical. I have a list of seven that I call my ‘dream team.’ Depending on the motivation or dose of reality I need, somebody is there for me to talk to and give me the kick in the pants necessary to be successful. Without them, and some time management, I would not be where I am today.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at