By Jamie Armstrong, LNHA
A little over 20 years ago, I started my career as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) in pediatrics and spent many years in sports medicine before discovering the joys of working with senior citizens. As a PTA, and then a rehab director, I recognized that I wanted to do even more to serve seniors. As a military spouse, I have worked in various states in long-term care These experiences convinced me that there is so much opportunity to do better for our seniors. I recognized that I wanted to do even more outside of therapy to serve them.
It was always my plan to finish my bachelor’s degree, but life happened. After traveling the globe during my husband’s 29-year military career, we landed in Virginia Beach to finish his time before retiring. Driving to work every day I would pass an ECPI University billboard advertising “Zero to Bachelor’s in 2.5 years.” I would also drive by a building that had an ECPI sign. I finally decided to request more information after a full year of seeing the signs, and boy am I glad I did!
“I had such a great support system with my family and the Healthcare Administration staff. I will honestly say that throughout all my classes and instructors, each one of them made a positive impact on me.”
With my busy, hectic, unpredictable work and life schedules, traditional classes would never fit into my day. The only reason I was able to achieve my goal was that ECPI University offered an online environment. As a student, it was common for me to use my phone as a hot spot and complete assignments anytime I was traveling, or if I had a long wait for picking up kids and appointments. While there were quite a few long nights and the stress of submitting assignments a minute before the deadline, the online format, and fast-paced classes kept me on track.
I kept my own countdown tracker towards my graduation date, and I knew that with each week, I was that much closer to my goal. My mom passed away about halfway through. She had grown up during the Great Depression and never had the opportunities that so many of us have. She was my biggest cheerleader and always encouraged me to learn all I can because that is something that no one can take from you.
All my instructors were more than understanding going through that difficult time and I will be forever grateful for the support and lessons learned. I was able to grieve, regroup, and press on because I had such a great support system with my family and the Healthcare Administration staff. I will honestly say that throughout all my classes and instructors, each one of them made a positive impact on me. The materials covered were always practical and useful. The instructors were always approachable and had so much experience and knowledge to share.
I completed my Bachelor of Science Degree in Healthcare Administration in May of 2020 with hopes to be a leader of teams that share my passion for serving seniors. Because of ECPI University, I now have that opportunity as an Executive Director of a Brookdale Community that specializes in memory care. Helping others discover joy and serving my residents and families with respect, integrity, compassion, and excellence is truly an honor.