Wayland graduates serving in various long-term care settings

It’s no secret that Wayland Baptist University graduates end up scattered all over the country and the world, working in various careers. But it may be surprising to know how many share a similar vocation, and one that few in the outside world would expect from a Christian university.

Several graduates from Wayland’s external campuses are working throughout the state and beyond in the field of long-term care administration. Wayland's senior faculty member in the program is Dr. Lloyd Cannedy, professor of business administration at the Wichita Falls Campus. This program is a specialization under either the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education or Master of Business Administration tracks of study. But very specific coursework is necessary for students to move into this in-demand field of nursing home administration.

“A baccalaureate degree is the starting point for meeting the state and federal licensure exams requirements of long-term care administrators,” Cannedy explains. “We provide the coursework that prepares them for taking the state and federal exams."  

Those courses include Healthcare Law, Healthcare Marketing, Long-Term Care Administration, Health Professions Human Resource Management and Regulatory Aspects of Long-Term Care, a highly dynamic course due to ever-changing state regulations, Cannedy notes. Students are also required to have a 1,000-hour internship at an approved facility, which the Wayland campus oversees through the services of Dr. Wallace Duvall. As a licensed nursing home administrator, Duvall has taken additional advanced training required by the state to serve as a preceptor for hands-on training of students in the nursing home setting. The program requires a special agreement with the state’s Department of Human Services, which has been in place for almost 20 years.

Program faculty has both academic training and experience in the industry. Duvall, for example, has served as the chief executive officer of a hospital in Denton, Texas, and was at one time the chairperson of Wayland's Division of Business. Cannedy has experience managing hospitals in Alabama, Iowa, Pennsylvania and two facilities in Texas. He was CEO of the Amarillo Hospital District, consisting of Northwest Texas Hospital, the Amarillo Psychiatric Pavilion and Kilgore Children's Hospital, for ten years.

Other faculty at the Wichita Falls program includes Dr. Joselyn Thompson, associate professor of business and education, who Cannedy says, “brings a special clinical dimension to our program. He is a kind and qualified person that develops a special relationship with his students.”

Cannedy noted that many of the graduates working in this specialized field pursue the MBA in Healthcare Administration. Though it is not always required, it is becoming the entry point for practitioners, especially in the acute care field. Several courses over the Internet through Wayland's Virtual Campus are also offered to help working individuals advance toward this degree.

Virtual Campus offerings also provide access to health care administration courses by other campuses. Students from as far away as Hawaii and Alaska take courses. The Amarillo and Lubbock campuses are actively participating, as are the San Antonio and Clovis Campuses.

The following are just a few graduates who are serving in long-term care facilities across the state:

Donna Schlumpf has served as executive director at Seven Oaks Nursing Home in Olney, Texas, for the past five years. She earned her BSOE in 1997 and her MBA in 1999 and is also a licensed social worker. Schlumpf said she was drawn to the long-term care field out of a desire to serve the elderly. She said her education at Wayland helped prepare her for the job and “really helped me understand health care industry issues. I feel like my education ranks among the top schools.”

Schlumpf finds her job, which also includes serving as senior administrator for three other nursing home facilities, very rewarding.

“You are always needed and get to see and become family with each of the residents. You make a difference in their lives,” she said.

Angelin Dickson works as administrator at the Memphis Convalescent Center in Memphis, Texas, and is regional director over three other homes in the area. A 2001 BSOE graduate, she came into the field 22 years ago but decided to complete her undergraduate degree after educational requirements changed. She said her entry into the field was by accident: She answered a want ad for a bookkeeping job at what she thought was a nursing school in Kilgore. It turned out the facility was actually a nursing home, but she took the job anyway. She fell in love with the job and worked her way up to the administrative level.

“I feel like a lot of times that we help families. We’re not just here for the patients, but it is a big responsibility to helping families adjust to difficult times,” Dickson said. “There are times that we are able to help people recover and go back home. That’s really rewarding.”

Dickson is encouraged that her youngest son, Courtney, is following in her footsteps, working toward the same degree at the Amarillo campus and aspiring to a similar position.

Emilie Fowler, administrator at Cedar Falls Care Center in Wichita Falls for the past 10 months, completed her MBA in September 2004 through WBU-Wichita Falls. Though she’d had her license for six years and has been working in the field, she opted to return to WBU and actually finish out the graduate degree. She was familiar with long-term care since her mother worked in nursing homes for several years, but as a young woman doubted she’d ever work there herself.

As it turned out, she would also pursue a career in the industry, eventually coming to Cedar Falls to work with her mother, Donna Humphreys, who serves as director of nursing there, at the behest of their company. For Fowler, the job is very fulfilling.

“I like the interaction with residents. No matter how bad a day you are having, the majority of them love you unconditionally, and you get to feel that you’re making a difference in the lives of the employees as well as the residents,” she said. “It is definitely a calling.”

A 2000 BSOE graduate of Amarillo campus, Janet Brown first worked as an assistant for Dickson before being named administrator at Wellington Care Center in 2001. After working at the center for many years, Brown decided to take the plunge and enrolled at Wayland at age 40, never having stepped foot on a college campus.

Brown said for her the job initially meant more career opportunities and chances for advancement, especially given the limited job choices in her small rural town. But after a short time there, she knew she’d found her niche.

“I love being with the residents and being able to help them. I love being able to tell someone in distress that I’ll take care of it and seeing the fear leave their faces,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore.”

After working as a pastor for 25 years, Sandy Sandlin was ready for a career switch. After becoming familiar with nursing home facilities while his mother was in Heritage Oaks in Lubbock, Sandlin decided that the field might befit his experiences and gifts and his desire to care for people. He began taking coursework through Wayland to prepare for the licensure exam and became administrator at Comanche Trail Nursing and Rehab Center in Big Spring in January 2004.

Seeing residents either improve and go back home or die with dignity is rewarding,” he said. “Just knowing that their rights and needs are taken care of is fulfilling.”

Jerry Jasper was driving a delivery truck in Amarillo when he decided to check into courses at the Wayland campus. Wanting a career with advancement, he opted to work on the BSOE in Human Services, taking the coursework for long-term care administration and graduating in 1999.

Jasper is now administrator at Memorial Hermann Spring Shadows Pines in Houston.

Linda Foley earned her MBA at Wayland in 1997 and has been administrator at Wichita Falls’ Grace Care Center for the past two and a half years. Originally, she set out for a career in hospital administration, but shortly into her internship, she realized the long-term care field was where she belonged. She said the challenges of the position – dealing with patient care issues, ever-changing regulations and maintaining a profit – can be difficult, but she feels her education prepared her.

“The MBA was important to me to provide that depth of education to be able to deal with the difficult issues. The coursework and my internship really helped me to do that,” she said. “Sometimes you wonder why you do this but then you go out and visit the residents and they just make your day.”

According to Cannedy, a wide array of health care administration graduates serve in varying positions.

"We have military graduates helping manage military hospitals in domestic and foreign locations, including in portable hospitals serving recent combat operations. We have graduates in the military's Medical Service Corps. Our graduates are assisting in the management of Veteran's Hospitals in Texas and Florida. One of our graduates is doing a wonderful job at a rural hospital in New Mexico. We have a physician who has taken our courses that manages a large rehabilitation hospital. We even have a graduate who owns and manages a brace and limb appliance firm for the handicapped,” he said. “With the significant growth in the number of elderly citizens in America, we also have a major interest in serving the long-term care patient through nursing homes and other elder care programs."

Cannedy believes "what we are doing is carrying out Wayland's Christian mission. The Bible is replete with clear instructions about service to others. Our graduates are quietly devoting their efforts in this service to mankind.”