Attending College in Midlife

health information management

We know many of our students at Concorde are not what are considered “traditional students.” Many come to Concorde when they’re older than what is considered “college age.” They arrive in midlife, after working in another career field – or, in a health care-related field – for decades. More return to college after earning a degree in an unrelated field earlier. Others come to Concorde because they know they need a change in their lives for the better.

Returning to college in midlife can be challenging. But, it certainly can be accomplished. There is no greater example than one we have on Concorde’s campus in Memphis, Tenn. Health Information Management instructor Nancy Hales earned a bachelor’s degree in education counseling decades ago, in what hardly would be considered a conventional manner. Then recently, at age 60, she earned a master’s in business administration.

It’s a remarkable story of perseverance and thirst for knowledge and education. It makes Hales one of Concorde – Memphis’ greatest assets.

The long road to a degree

Here is how Hales describes her educational journey and road to Concorde – Memphis as a Health Information Management instructor.

“My story really starts with my bachelor’s degree, which took me more than 12 years to complete,” Hales said. “I was trying to pay as I went and sometimes would have budget constraints and have to stop and start and start again. The important thing is that I persisted and got that first degree.

“That was one of my greatest accomplishments.”

Joining the Health Information Management program at Concorde

Hales has been an instructor at Concorde off and on for more than 13 years.

“Working at Concorde is what actually encouraged me to continue my education,” she said. “When I started in the Health Information Management program in 2013, I found myself challenged by the intelligent and hardworking students in the program. I knew I needed to know more to be a better instructor.”

Representatives of nearby Bethel University attended a staff meeting Hales attended and talked about a master’s program for Health Information Management.

“My course was clear,” she said. “I got all my materials together and enrolled.”

Hales had her master’s in business administration with a health care concentration a couple of years – and a lot of hard work – later.

“It was one of the best moments of my life to walk across that stage and be handed that degree at 60 years of age,” she said. “I am living proof that you can do for yourself, to better yourself and be a benefit in life to others.”

Hales encourages all those who gain that knowledge and education to share it with others.

“Knowledge is one of the most powerful things in life, especially if you share it,” she said. “I hope my story will help someone else that is struggling with a decision to attend (college) or with their studies once enrolled.”

health information management

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Jamie Troccoli | Medical Assistant graduate

“I am eternally grateful to Dr. Lu-Ping Gamble at the Garden Grove campus. They not only lit a spark, they lit a torch in my heart that shall burn forever! My education changed my life and has had a huge positive impact on the person I am today.”

Marcus Streator | Respiratory Therapy graduate

“Without the support of certain instructors … I would not have pushed myself to grasp the concepts and pass my boards on the first attempt. Once I passed my boards, it was less than one month after that I landed my first Respiratory Therapist job where I am currently working with so much joy every day.”