The path through college seemed reasonably clear for Corey Ainsworth. He wanted to become a nurse practitioner; he enrolled in South Louisiana Community College with his eyes on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Then something happened that closed the door on nursing classes and a future in clinical health care for the New Iberia native.
“I got in a really bad car accident,” Ainsworth says. “I still wanted to stay in healthcare, but I knew I couldn't do clinical.”
He spoke with his advisor about how to best use his credits to complete his bachelor's degree.
“They told me about Health Information Management and Health Services Administration. I just thought ‘Health Services Administration sounds fun!’ I didn't even realize it was online.”
Ainsworth says there was a learning curve to adapting to online learning. The key to thriving, he says, is time management and developing self-discipline.
“It was challenging to adapt to. It took about a year to learn how to control my time well. And then I was like ‘I’m all in for this’ and sure enough, I came to love it. I just had a lot of flexibility in my schedule.”
The faculty who teach online in the Health Services Administration program are also all UL Lafayette faculty within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Ainsworth felt comfortable reaching out to them with questions and had confidence in their responses.
“The instructors are very responsive and extremely helpful,” Ainsworth says. “They understand that online learning is a bit of a hurdle, but the faculty assistance and availability of the program outweighs the struggle of it.”
As he advanced into his upper-level courses, Ainsworth was able to establish connections with his classmates.
“I know all 25 people I’ve had classes with for the last three years,” Ainsworth says. “And I’ve made some friends. We’ve gotten together to study or used telecommunication to help each other out when we need help with the course work.”
Putting the ‘work’ in ‘coursework’
The Captstone Seminar for Health Services Administration requires seniors to secure an internship working in health care.
As luck would have it, Ainsworth had done a research project on the not-for-profit status of the Iberia Medical Center which led him to recognize a hospital executive at a serendipitous moment.
“I was trying to lose a little weight and I recognized this guy at the gym – when I saw his name on his ID badge, I knew I had to talk to him.”
It was the chief operating officer of the hospital.
The opportunity to put his coursework into practice in a professional healthcare setting gave Ainsworth new confidence in his choice of degree and prospective career paths.
“Everything just started to make sense once I was in the field. It was like what I had learned the past four years started to snowball together.”
Interning at New Iberia Medical Center helped squash his insecurities, but it also made room for a little regret to grow.
“If I could do it all over again, I would definitely try to work at a medical facility sooner,” Ainsworth says. “It could be a doctor's office, a dentist's office, or a hospital, anywhere I could use my education in my job earlier.”
As an intern at Iberia Medical Center, Corey was assigned to a large-scale project – he plans to stay on after graduation and see the project through to its completion. He is also going to begin his MBA degree online through UL Lafayette in the fall of 2021.
“I’m used to online learning now and I know UL Lafayette very well. It’s going to be a smooth transition,” Ainsworth says.
Corey would recommend the HSA online program to students curious about the business side of medicine.
“Health care requires so many different roles to make it work. I would say anyone who wants to provide care but does not feel at home on the clinical side, or anyone who leans toward business, but wants to stay in health care, would do well in Health Services Administration.”
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