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Career student: Shayne Taylor committed to educating herself and others

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This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee. 
Read more about our editorial process.

Mark Johannsson, Dean of the College of Health Professions

Reviewed by Mark Jóhannsson, DHSc, MPH, Dean, College of Health Professions

Shayne Taylor gets things done. Email her, and she’ll reply within hours. Request something, and she’ll make sure it gets completed. Set up a meeting, and she’ll show up early.

Taylor, in other words, is a go-getter. The proof is in her current role as the director of clinical education and conference center operations at Corewell Health.

It’s also evidenced by her education: She earned her Master of Business Administration in 2005 and her Doctor of Health Administration in 2021, both from University of Phoenix. For Taylor, education and leadership are as natural a pairing as nursing and compassion. To lead, she needed to learn. And UOPX and Corewell helped her get there.

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Born to lead

Maureen Bishop

“Shayne is honestly one of the strongest leaders I have had over the 46 years of my career,” says Maureen Bishop, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, a clinical nurse specialist at Corewell who’s known Taylor for more than a decade. To her mind, Taylor’s leadership, combined with her work ethic, make her a professional force to be reckoned with.

“She is an advocate for not only her team members but the organization,” she adds. “I would describe [her] as a visionary, a servant, democratic and a transformation leader rolled into one!”

In some ways, Taylor was always meant to lead because she loves the educational aspect of it. Born in Orlando, Florida, she started her career as a bedside clinician after earning her associate degree in respiratory care and her bachelor’s degree in cardiopulmonary science.

Shayne Taylor

“I loved mentoring and teaching new clinicians,” Taylor says. “As I gained confidence in my clinical role, my interest grew to impact practice and positive change in my workplace.”

Taylor began teaching at her local community college, which satisfied her urge to educate, but she also began looking to remediate her own skill gaps. “[My friend and I] realized the business side of healthcare is not something that’s taught when you’re in a clinically focused degree,” Taylor says.

So, Taylor and her friend researched MBA programs and enrolled at University of Phoenix to learn what so many medical professionals don’t: how to think like a businessperson.

The program not only opened up a different style of thinking to Taylor, but it also offered new networking opportunities.

“We developed professional, academic and personal relationships that benefited us both in school and in the workplace,” Taylor recalls of her and her friend’s experience. “I found my school relationships contributed significantly to my professional life.”


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New move, new degree

Things were going well for Taylor. She was overseeing several departments at a Florida children’s hospital and had moved away from patient-facing leadership into clinical education. Her MBA complemented this real-world experience.

“My MBA helped evolve me from novice to expert in leadership competency with business acumen,” Taylor says. “I became a mentor for some of my colleagues in this competency.”

In 2013, though, things changed. Taylor and her husband moved to Michigan for family reasons. She joined the Corewell team and took a leadership role in clinical education for a variety of departments.

After she’d settled into her role, she began to wonder if earning her doctorate might be a good next step. It had been more than a decade since she’d completed her master’s degree, her children were in high school and semi-independent, and she’d just seen her senior leader complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice.

“It was a dream of mine,” Taylor says of the doctoral program.

UOPX offered flexible online programs. (Taylor had seen her husband complete his bachelor’s program at UOPX online, but her own MBA program had been offered in person.) Learning how to go to school online meant Taylor could still “show up for the important events in my children’s lives” while simultaneously pursuing her goals, she says.

She enrolled in the Doctor of Health Administration program and was awarded a partial leadership scholarship from Corewell to help her achieve it. At that point, nothing was going to stop her. Not work. Not family. Not even COVID.

The COVID-19 factor

At first, Taylor seemed to have the doctoral program well in hand. Corewell provided financial assistance and generally supported her commitment to ongoing education. “My direct leader mentored me and supported me with time set aside to work on major projects and attend residencies,” Taylor says.

Plus, Taylor was making the same sort of connections that had made her master’s program so impactful. Among her connections she counts a nursing director in California and a financial manager with whom she regularly touches base.

“Connecting with other students in my industry and outside my industry has given me insight and a sense of community outside of my local resources,” she notes.

This felt especially valuable as the pandemic extended its tentacles into her work and life. As a frontline employee, Taylor had to go into the hospital every day to adjust policies and workflows according to the evolving knowledge about COVID-19.

“I spent many weekends doing a lot of my [doctoral] work, because I spent the majority of my Monday through Friday trying to learn COVID,” she says. “I just needed to dig in and do it.”

The pandemic wasn’t the only threat to Taylor’s educational commitment. After writing the first three chapters of her dissertation, her chair left. Taylor worried she’d be forced to take a break while she sourced another chair but, in the end, the University connected her with a potential replacement. He read through her work and made 256 edits. If Taylor would update her work according to those edits, he said, he’d take her on.

This happened over the weekend of Taylor’s wedding anniversary.

But her grit to finish the program, to learn, to grow as a person and professional — it drove Taylor to put in the hours and turn the document around in time.

“He saw the commitment that I had to my own work, [so] he was ready to commit to me,” Taylor says.

“It was very scary, but it ended up being the best thing,” she adds, reflecting on her journey from student to graduate

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With the doctorate completed, Taylor recognizes its value in her daily life.

“Because of my DHA, I am better prepared in reviewing and preparing research to support practice change,” she says. “Being a leader in education, I share my knowledge of research with others to help them improve credibility in their proposals.”

It has impacted her influence in other ways too. She got the doctorate because she loves to learn and because she saw how it could help her be better at her job. Others see a different, less tangible but more profound value.

“I believe completing her doctorate has accentuated Shayne’s ability to be a great role model for not only her team but for other leaders within the organization,” Bishop says. “She is very humble and uses her knowledge and expertise in a very quiet and humble manner. She does not flaunt her knowledge but is excellent in bringing out the best in everyone she comes in contact with.”

Elizabeth Exline

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Exline has been telling stories ever since she won a writing contest in third grade. She's covered design and architecture, travel, parenting, lifestyle content and a host of other topics for national, regional, local and brand publications. Additionally, she's worked in content development for Marriott International and manuscript development for a variety of authors. Today, if given a free hour and the choice, she'd still prefer to curl up with a good story.

 

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