From Nurse to Business Owner: Corrine Harleman
An Associate Degree Nurse (ADN), for 20 years, Corrine Harleman was recognized as a nurse with potential and was being given leadership opportunities; however, some of these were in struggling businesses, which eventually closed. This is a familiar story for many WGU grads, but Corrine’s journey led her to start her own business, The Home Health Training Center, LLC.
She always knew she wanted to move beyond an associate’s degree, and having interaction with a for-profit online university at the turn of the century, she knew the requirements of 1) logging into class 5 days/week, 2) completing mandatory group projects, and 3) researching and responding to discussion groups in a timely manner, would be unachievable with her busy lifestyle.
A few years ago, WGU Indiana visited Corrine’s workplace. She was immediately attracted to the adult learning competency-based online model, which allowed her to apply life experience and prove what she already knew without spending a lot of wasted “seat” time. Corrine stated “this model seemed too simple too good to be true!”
Corrine became a WGU student and it was in the midst of getting her degree, she was given the gifts of learning, experimenting and developing both her passions healthcare and education. This journey also revealed a business opportunity. No one was effectively and affordably training Home Health workers. There was/is a need, and for Corrine, an ethical obligation to get people trained in this field. Training ultimately reduces the costs of health care, and supports the growing baby boomer population determined to age in place.
Starting a business is no easy task, especially one related to healthcare. Along the way, recruiters offering good pay and an easy path forward have courted Corrine; however, she is committed to making a difference in the home health field. Neither the offer of better (certain!) compensation, nor risk aversion, deterred her.
Corrine has NOT taken the easy way out, and like many other adult college students she had frustrating days when life got in the way, and tears fell. She credits her student mentor, Julie Eckert, with a magical way of making sense of the chaos, listening carefully and bringing calm to any situation, and convincing Corrine she was doing a great job and could complete that degree no matter what. Julie was “the port in the storm.” In fact, Corrine’s advice to future WGU students is to “let the mentors do their job. If you do, YOU will succeed.”
Thanks for sharing your story, Corrine. Thanks for “not” taking the easy way out. And WGU certainly considers you one of our stars. Congratulations on the achievement of a master’s degree and good luck with The Home Health Training Center!