At Ensocare, we make our impact on the healthcare field by providing care coordination and discharge management solutions that enable providers to improve patient care. But one Ensocare employee is making a difference in another way entirely: by teaching the healthcare leaders of today and tomorrow.
This summer, Jill Reeves, Ensocare Marketing Manager, taught her first semester at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC), an Omaha-based institution offering both in-person and online classes. NMC is exclusively dedicated to the healthcare field, offering a variety of nursing and healthcare-oriented programs.
Jill’s particular course is, not surprisingly, marketing. As part of the Healthcare MBA program at NMC, the marketing course allows Jill to bring together her marketing and teaching experience, offering students insights into aspects of healthcare they never expected to discover.
From Teaching to Marketing and Back Again
A self-described workaholic, Jill admits to already having 12 or so freelance clients in addition to her full-time position at Ensocare. So the last thing she expected was to take on a completely new role as an adjunct instructor.
“I was looking online one day for a part-time job for my husband because he needed something more to do,” said Jill. “But then I found this teaching opportunity and I thought, ‘I could do that.’ On a whim, I submitted the application and within a couple hours they had looked at my profile on Linkedin, and within a day or two I got a call.”
Teaching wasn’t completely new to Jill. In fact, she and her husband both graduated from college with thoughts of being teachers.
“My first career out of college was as an English teacher,” said Jill. “At the time, my husband and I were both working for about $11,000 a year, working hard, long hours. We wanted to start a family and we just knew that we couldn’t do it on the salaries that a teacher earned at that time.”
Jill landed at a startup company that specialized in healthcare research, and she became highly knowledgeable about the market research process in her role as an analyst. But when that company needed someone to take on a marketing role, Jill jumped at the opportunity. Later, she earned her Master of Health Administration (MHA), supplementing her already-substantial healthcare and marketing knowledge.
Eventually, Jill’s decades of expertise in the intertwined fields of marketing and healthcare led her to Ensocare.
“I don’t think I have a grand plan for my life,” said Jill. “The things that have happened to me just seem like they have happened for a reason at the time I needed them to happen. What excites me most about being at Ensocare is the work that we do and the impact we make on the back end for patients and families, really trying to find the type of care they need for the long run. I like to be in places and companies where I can see that there’s a difference being made rather than just financial profit.”
After a few years, her experience at Ensocare would make her uniquely positioned to re-engage with a teaching role she thought she’d left behind.
The class that has re-ignited Jill’s passion for teaching is MBH 684, an online healthcare marketing course for MBA students. And because she’s the brains behind the inaugural version of this course, Jill has been pleasantly surprised with the level of input she’s gotten into the structure of the class itself.
“When I first approached it, I was thinking that they would want me to go down the path primarily of promotional tactics, from direct mail in the old days to inbound marketing today. But as I did a little research, I found that it really needs to be a lot more than that.
“Because this was a new course, I was allowed to design the course itself and how it would be laid out, so I decided to approach more from a strategy side of things, all the way from the beginning of what marketing is and what it isn’t. Then, towards the end of the course, these folks were able to understand market research and contemporary marketing practices like inbound, and they’re also able to write a strategic business and marketing plan of their own.”
Initially, many of Jill’s students assumed they’d be learning about things like how to design and send promotional postcards through the mail. But what Jill was going for was something far more high-level, and the nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals who comprise her class have responded enthusiastically after some initial hesitation.
“A lot of it was brand new to them,” she said. “I had to do some level-setting and explain that [ad creation] is just a piece of it. Healthcare marketing is based on four P’s: they have to learn price, product, placement and promotion. Everything from price and distribution strategies, current healthcare policy, insurance and the exchanges, strategic planning and how marketing has a role in strategic planning.
“They were able to eventually see how it all ties together. We did market research using some actual market data, so they’re analyzing the data, learning how to read cross-tabs, really talking about the components that go into marketing research. I think they’re having fun with it. Putting it in the context of the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ has been really interesting.”
The classroom and the subject might be different, but Jill is grateful for the opportunity to get back to what she set out to do in her career when she initially graduated college, and she intends to keep teaching in subsequent semesters.
“For me, it’s rewarding to come full circle and get back into teaching and find out that degree wasn’t a mistake,” she said. ““What surprised me the most is how much I enjoyed it and had a passion for doing that. The other benefit from all of this is really just getting to know and work with some other people in the industry. The eight people in my class I’m getting to know super well as professionals and human beings. I think that’s a big win.”
We have no doubt it’s a big win for those students as well.