Turning Health Care Credentials into a Degree

Posted by Janae Melvin on March 9, 2016 in "bachelor's degree", healthcare, "radiologic technology", radiology 2016-jennifer-lyle007.jpg

When asked to join an employee satisfaction committee at work, Jennifer Lile ’16 jumped at the chance to become more involved at work. The committee was formed to help Olathe Health Systems employees find more satisfaction and joy in their jobs. Lile thought it would be a good opportunity to help shape her workplace. She wasn’t expecting it would lead her to return to school.

Lile, who has an associate’s degree and certification in radiologic technology, had thought about going back for her bachelor’s degree for several years, but found herself struggling to find the right time and reason to enroll. She figured a bachelor’s degree would help her advance in her radiology career, but didn’t feel quite ready to take the leap. 

After joining the committee, she discovered that she really enjoyed helping people find satisfaction at work. She began thinking about how she could take more of a leadership role at work. Lile realized she needed to go back to school.

“I wanted to get my degree and learn how to work in a leadership role,” Lile said. “I originally thought that I would get my bachelor’s degree so I would be manager of a clinic but now, I want to work my way up and help people. Knowing that I can help other people be happier in their career is exciting. I’ve always been blessed to work at great jobs with great coworkers and I want to help other people find that job satisfaction in their careers too.”

Lile began looking into college programs locally and online, trying to determine what would be best for her. She had heard of online degree programs before, but was admittedly nervous about going to school online. 

“Is an online program real? Will employers take the degree seriously? These were all things I worried about when I first learned about Ottawa University,” Lile said. 

Lile spoke with a friend who was earning her teaching degree at OU and was encouraged by what she learned. 

“After speaking with her, I did more research and learned that OU was accredited and had a physical location in the Overland Park, KS, area. I started to become more comfortable with the idea of taking my classes online. I met with my enrollment advisor, Brett Mendez, and he explained how the process would work and that I could complete my degree in under 18 months. Everything sort of fell into place and I enrolled. It felt like the right thing to do.”

Lile began her journey towards a Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Management in March of 2015, and by the end of March 2016 she had her degree.

Lile admits it hasn’t been easy, but she is quick to point out that going back to school has been worth it. A newlywed, she’s had to balance a full-time job with her classes and her responsibilities at home. Her husband, family and coworkers have been very supportive of her throughout the past year and that has helped her achieve her goal of earning a bachelor’s degree. 

“I found the online experience to be very intensive,” Lile said. “I knew I was going to have to dedicate a lot of my time to get my assignments completed, but I didn’t realize how much I would have to schedule my school work into my day to make sure I met all my deadlines. Once you figure it out, it’s absolutely doable. My husband has been very supportive and a great coach – he has kept me on track.”
Lile is glad she chose OU. The faculty and staff helped her every step of the journey and never wavered in their support.

“OU made it so simple,” she said. “You follow the path they created. Brett and my academic advisor Laura (Ingold) have always been there for me and answered any question I had. The faculty are open to communication if you have problems or are struggling. There is a great support system at OU and everything is there to help you graduate. It’s an abstract idea – wanting to go back to school. But they are there to help you make it a reality. It’s been work, but in a good way. And it’s absolutely doable for anyone who wants to do it.”