University of Southern Indiana
Rebecca Lucas

Spotlight: Student lands dream job of administrator

When Rebecca Lucas was growing up in Elkhart, Indiana, she and her sister would often travel to Ohio to visit their grandmother. While they were in Ohio, their grandmother would take them to the nursing home to see their great-grandmother whom the girls called, “Grammy Donna.”

“I couldn’t wait to go there,” she recalled. “I would walk the halls as if everyone was a family member, stopping in just about every room before I was ready to leave. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had already found what I wanted to be when I grew up: a nursing home administrator.”

As a student at the University of Southern Indiana, Lucas started on a path to achieving her career goals, and the university's partnership with Trilogy Health Services has helped her get a head start.

In 2017, the same year she was finishing up her undergraduate degree in Health Services at USI, Lucas, who was also enrolled in USI's Master of Health Administration (MHA) 4+1 program, was selected as the first recipient of the new Trilogy USI Administrator-in-Training (AIT) Residency Program scholarship, becoming the first student in Indiana to begin an AIT residency as an undergraduate student. After completing her AIT at Trilogy’s RiverOaks Health Campus in Princeton, Indiana, and before earning her MHA degree in Spring 2018, Lucas passed state and national nursing home examinations, which earned her additional notoriety as the first USI student to pass both licensure exams before graduation.

Lucas has fulfilled her childhood dream: she is currently employed as the administrator of Trilogy’s River Pointe Health Campus in Evansville. “I learn something new every single day and absolutely love it,” she said. “I am so grateful for all of the opportunities USI and Trilogy have given me.”

Dr. Katie Ehlman, associate professor of gerontology at USI, said Lucas has blazed a trail for other students interested in gerontology and long-term care. “Our community is a better place because of Rebecca’s commitment to the care of elders,” she said. “It’s been an honor and pleasure to work with her over the last five years, and she is truly a role model for other students interested in working with older adults.”

In early 2017, the USI Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness announced its first public-private partnership with Trilogy Health Services to increase educational and career opportunities for students like Lucas who are interested in working with older adults. The company, which operates multiple senior health communities throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, has committed $50,000 to fund annual scholarships for USI undergraduate and graduate students.

Ehlman said the partnership with Trilogy has allowed USI to break new ground as the first academic institution in Indiana to have an AIT residency program incorporated into the curriculum. An AIT program must be completed before an individual can sit for the exams required for nursing home administrator licensure. There are currently two USI students in the AIT residency.

“Our collaboration with Trilogy offers the opportunity for students to complete a 1,040-hour AIT residency under the guidance of a qualified nursing home administrator to fulfill requirements set by the Indiana State Department of Health,” said Ehlman. “Embedding the Trilogy USI AIT residency program into the curriculum closes the loop for USI College of Nursing and Health Professions to be able to guarantee to the community a very high caliber of student who not only meets the knowledge required for licensure, but who also promote culture change and quality of care for residents and staff.”

Learn more about the Trilogy Scholars program at USI.

Contact Dr. Katie Ehlman


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