Online health care management MBA student sets her own course for change.

It was a heartbreaking time for Tameshia Edwards and her family. The health of her cherished and once-vibrant grandmother was declining. She spent weeks in a hospital and then a rehabilitation center, before eventually moving into an assisted living facility.

Tameshia says it was particularly difficult because, time and again, they encountered lapses in care at each of the facilities where her grandmother stayed. Issues ranged from a disappointing level of compassion and minor safety concerns to serious negligence matters.

While Tameshia and her family were able to advocate on their loved one's behalf, the experience gave her new focus. She resolved to make a similar situation for someone else's grandmother better, and she started to prepare herself to assume that responsibility.

Tameshai enrolled in Saint Leo's online health care management degree program and earned a bachelor's degree. Now she's advancing her knowledge and skills by pursuing the university's online MBA in health care management.

"I believe a master's degree equals opportunity – the opportunity for me to really make change happen on an epic scale," she says.

Tameshia's goal is to manage a host of care facilities where she can implement necessary steps to ensure proper care is provided to all patients and residents. Her first priority will be quality standards for caregivers' technical skills as well as their interpersonal skills such thoughtful, compassionate communication.

"A kind word is moving for those who speak them and for those to whom they are spoken," she says.

Online learning enables her to keep family first

Earning her degrees online has allowed Tameshia to stay true to her number one priority – her family. Tameshia cares for her six and eight year-old nephews during the day and hits the computer at night when the house quiets down. Three or four nights a week, she devotes a few uninterrupted hours to reading, researching, writing and interacting with her classmates.

"I'm still able to focus on my family and enjoy the simplest, but most important things like eating a meal together," she says.

Global perspectives with a personal touch

Living relatively close to Saint Leo's University Campus, Tameshia was able to visit before enrolling. On campus, she noticed a high level of personal interaction and was pleased to discover this same commitment on behalf of faculty and staff in the online programs.

"Education has always been a highlight in my life for as long as I can remember," she says. "My parents paved the way for my deep interest in actively learning all that I can about everything that I can. I've had countless adventures and educational experiences in cultures around the world."

Saint Leo's international reach is one of the many advantages of the online programs. One of Tameshia's favorite courses in the online MBA program has been Global Business Management. Taught by Dr. Lorrie McGovern, who regularly travels internationally, the course exposes students to ideas and leading practices on how to conduct business on a global scale.

Interacting with classmates from across the country and around the globe enhances this world-view. Tameshia especially enjoys the online discussion forums where she shares views with students living in Singapore, Denmark, Costa Rica and Columbia, as well as with active-duty military personnel stationed in Korea and Japan.

"The different cultures, backgrounds and experiences add unique perspectives to our discussions."

Relevant learning for the real-world

In addition to the global perspective that is integrated in Saint Leo's undergraduate and graduate business curriculum, Tameshia says she also appreciates the relevance of her courses in the real world.

Dr. McGovern, for example, opened her eyes to the art of problem-solving by requiring the class to look at and solve business issues from multiple angles.

"Discovering there is usually more than one solution to a complex situation really resonated with me," she says. "My grandmother always told me – there's more than one way. Now her words of wisdom resonate with me more than ever."

Tameshia enjoyed opportunities to put new skills and knowledge to work in two undergraduate health care management internships, including part-time work in a community hospital. She also interned in the office of a physician who provided holistic health care. She participated in holistic seminars and learned about a variety of organic healing methods including yoga for seniors, and the benefits of natural plants and oils for optimum health. Both of Tameshia's internship experiences enhanced her career preparedness while keeping her on track with her goals.

On course to making a difference

As Tameshia works toward finishing her graduate studies, she appreciates the flexibility the online program offers.

"An online education is especially advantageous for someone who wants to finish their degree but doesn't have the time or resources to attend a campus-based program," she says.

Working at her own pace, and according to her own schedule, Tameshia sleeps better at night knowing she's on course to making a difference.

"At some point in everyone's life, a loved one will be in the same situation. My online health care management degrees from Saint Leo are going to help make sure those loved ones are getting the compassionate, quality care they deserve."

Image credits: magaflopp on Shutterstock and courtesy Tameshia Edwards

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