In Its Collaboration With Chamberlain University, BrightStar Care Is Creating Its Own Talent Pipeline

There are a handful of home-based care providers that aren’t just waiting around for new nursing talent. Instead, they are proactively creating their own talent pool.

BrightStar Care is one of these companies, and is doing so by partnering with Chamberlain University. Together, the two have launched a home health care didactic course under Chamberlain University’s Practice-Ready, Specialty-Focused model.

“The way this works is really developing more expertise in students before they actually go to a clinical area,” Chamberlain University President Karen Cox told Home Health Care News.


Chamberlain University has the largest nursing school in the U.S. Last year, the university’s Practice-ready, Specialty-Focused model pilot program was the recipient of a $1.2 million grant from the American Nurses Foundation’s Reimagining Nursing Initiative.

By teaming up, BrightStar Care and Chamberlain University are aiming to address the nursing shortage. While this isn’t a challenge that’s unique to home-based care, it’s one that is taking a severe toll on providers operating in the space.

Part of the reason for this is that nursing students aren’t typically exposed to home-based care, according to Cox.


“It’s an area of high-need, growing need, and increasing complexity,” she said. “Students in the nursing programs don’t get a chance to see home care, it’s not part of a rotation. If they do get to see it, it’s just shadowing one person for half a day. They really don’t get a full appreciation for what the practice could look like in the home health setting.”

The course will be offered – at no charge – at Chamberlain University’s various campuses to students in good academic standing. If they pass, they then participate in a 96-hour home-based care clinic with BrightStar Care, which takes place over the course of eight weeks. 

The partnership comes at an opportune time for BrightStar Care, as the care the company provides in the home is becoming increasingly more complex.

“More and more will be moving into the home,” Shelly Sun, founder and CEO of BrightStar Care, told HHCN. “More higher acuity care, which is going to mean more need for nurses. A lot of hospital-at-home programs that we’re participating in need both our certified nursing assistants, but also our nurses. We are doing some skilled-nursing facility alternatives, and those also require nurses.” 

The Chicago-based BrightStar Care is a home care and medical staffing franchise with more than 380 locations nationwide. The company provides medical and non-medical services to clients in their homes, as well as supplemental care staff to corporate clients.

As an organization, BrightStar Care currently has 5,700 nurses.

“To keep pace with the growth that we believe we’ll see over the next 3, 5, 7 years — we’re going to need to double that,” Sun said.

The collaboration with Chamberlain University is an opportunity for BrightStar Care to expose the company to the type of talent they’ll be looking to attract as part of the growth effort.

While Chamberlain University reached out to a few other home-based care organizations to talk about possible collaborations, BrightStar Care moved to the top of the list due to the company’s strong interest and commitment. 

“Sometimes people will say, ‘We’re really interested, we want to work on something,’ but this was the real thing,” Cox said. “We did it quickly. That meant both of us had to work quickly, getting our contracts together, sorting out COVID-19, etc. These are things that often take a little bit of time, but got going because of the real interest, motivation, and [desire] to be innovative.”

On its end, BrightStar Care feels more than equipped to take on this endeavor.

“We’ve been fortunate,” Sun said. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years, and our locations are Joint Commission accredited. We do operate with a really stellar reputation for clinical standards and evidence-based care. We are also doing a lot of innovative trials.”

Ultimately, this course will remind future nurses that there are many paths that one can take when it comes to their career, and that home should be one of the choices they consider.

“Nurses are going to enter hospitals, nursing homes or home health,” Sun said. “We want them to get there, love it and stay. We don’t want nurses to burnout because they pick the wrong setting. The more that we can help invest to expose them to what it can look like, in the safety and mentoring of a practical 96-hour rotation, that’s a great thing for the nursing profession.”

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