Director of Operations,
Learning So She Can Teach Others
Since earning her social work degree in 1990, Sharon Bixler has enjoyed a successful career in long-term care, serving in positions including social worker, administrator, executive director and corporate director. After more than two decades, however, her current role as director of operations at the WILMAC Corporation has inspired her to build upon that public service expertise by developing skills in a field you might not expect –– law.
As a leader at the Pennsylvania-based senior lifestyle company, Sharon not only has to understand the personal needs of those they serve, but also has to have a working knowledge of the regulations related to the highly scrutinized long-term care industry.
“I work with attorneys on litigation and to address regulations and compliance issues,” she says. “I am also responsible for things like contract review, ensuring that all company contracts meet regulatory compliance, such as the Anti-Kickback statute, educating company staff about regulations and writing plans of correction.”
Law and health care are more integrated than many may realize, and to further her professional development and advance her career, Sharon knew she wanted to pursue advanced education to help her be able to speak to both.
After considering a number of online options, she spoke to an admissions counselor at Hofstra Law and decided the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy program was the best route to help her achieve her goal.
Sharon, who earned her degree in 2018, has found the coursework to be extremely relevant to her job. “Everything I’ve learned through this program touches some aspect of my daily duties,” she says. “I feel more confident having this master’s degree to support my expertise in this area.”
Her experience with Hofstra Law has also crossed over into her second career as an adjunct professor. “I teach in the 120-hour program for nursing home administrators (a requirement of the State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators) for a local college,” she explains. “The courses I teach are Understanding the Regulations and Preparing for Survey and Writing Plans of Correction. Hofstra Law’s online program has guided me in strengthening my arsenal of resources for teaching purposes.”
While Sharon enjoyed all of her courses, a particular favorite was Introduction to American Legal Studies. As she explained, “It was exciting to learn about the law itself and not just as it relates to my profession. It gave me a different focus.”
Looking ahead, she hopes to leverage her degree to secure new adjunct teaching opportunities, and is also planning to open her own consulting business.
Sharon’s advice for prospective students considering the program is simple. “Put the effort into it; don’t just go through the motions,” she says. “I committed a great deal of time and effort to this program because I not only wanted to earn my master’s degree, I wanted to excel. For me, that meant I had to earn an A in every class. I did that and better. I really enjoyed this program and was sad that it ended.”