Life’s Horizon - Registered Nurse to Healthcare Agency
By Marceliano Briones, Journalism Intern, Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, Bradley University
Jessica Frazier, a registered nurse (RN) and Owner of Horizons Healthcare Agency, grew up in Peoria Heights and spent much of her childhood between her parent’s households. Having encountered many years of “tough choices”, she was confident a healthy bounce back was in store. A strong mentality led her to becoming a registered nurse – now entering her eighth year.
Early on in Jessica’s medical career, she spent much of her time on a medical surgical floor, a high need area for many hospitals and spent years between medical travel contracts that guarantee a specific amount of hours at a nursing facility that is a close proximity to home. She also spent some time working for Hospice Home Care providing care for the sick or terminally ill. A harsh neck injury, resulting in a surgery would make her reconsider her life and the complicated “what if” scenarios began to run through her mind during this time. Questions like “what if parts of my body can’t function anymore?”, “what if I can’t even do bedside nursing after this?” were prevalent. Her unique life experiences would enable her to push through and strategically approach her future. She decided if she couldn’t do nursing herself, she would assist others in finding contracts and work in the field. Fortunately, she came back stronger than ever and continued her nursing career. Rather than working as a RN full-time, she has dedicated the majority of her time to secure work for other Healthcare Professionals (we staff LPN, CNA, and other areas) in the local area - made possible by the subsequent healthcare agency.
Jessica does this through her staffing agency Horizons Healthcare located in Chillicothe, Illinois and serving the surrounding areas. A beautiful office that was once an antique store was secured September 23rd of 2019 and move-in day came on November 15th. A full renovation began soon after. Being a staffing service for healthcare, she is a proud advocate of providing reliable, hard-working individuals to facilities in need and of higher wages for healthcare professionals and reflects such beliefs in her own work. This has earned her spot as the agency that offers higher wages than most in the area. She describes the work she does for others as one offering “a different name for staffing agencies” and one that “guarantees a future for others” and herself.
Special homage is given to Cameron Horn, Rural Business Development Manager in the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University, due to his hand in the start-up phases of Horizons Healthcare Agency. Initially, Jessica and Cameron met via a referral that turned into a business meeting. That first meeting proved to be monumental as he shared “a wealth of information” and offered a great perspective into the critical thinking required to build a company from the ground up. Within the first two months of their marketing campaign for the agency, two contracts were landed, elevating the status of the company. Funding referrals from Cameron were significant as that enabled Horizons Healthcare to offer more hours to employees thus growing their clientele. While working with Cameron, Jessica continued to work full-time plus overtime to save additional private funds. As a result, the company has an active roster of about 40 employees with about half of them working full-time across nine facilities.
Jessica also gives a humble thanks to Samantha, her best friend who moved nearby from Kentucky to assist her with her goals, becoming her business partner who lends a great hand in the day-to-day operations. Both, with help from friends and family, were able to complete the aforementioned renovations from scratch with minimal subcontract work for assistance. However, there is no great success without challenges.
The agency has a strong no-tolerance policy that sends a clear message of safety and professionalism but has also resulted in fluctuation of the amount of reliable employees at hand. On the contrary, the security of the amount of available hours affects the number of employees willing to work, so a steadier stream of hours is a goal of the agency.
Additional goals of the company include expanding throughout Illinois and into other states increasing the options of location and securing the amount of travel hours available for RN’s. Such travel hours are contracts which usually last about 13 weeks and are guaranteed hours. Furthermore, joint commission (Certification and Accreditation) collaboration and commitment would expand the reach of the agency thus reach more healthcare facilities to staff their employees through. Most importantly, Frazier plans to convert the second half of the home facility into a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) school for the next phase of development for Horizons Healthcare. Jessica hopes to make it affordable as Financial Aid does not cover the expenses for CNA Certification causing many to go out of pocket. The healthcare field is in need if more CNAs. She also has the vision of creating a company collaborative grant for an individual in each session where all direct educational expenses would be paid.
As the agency continues to thrive, Horizons Healthcare aims to extend their community outreach via volunteering, being active in the local communities and engaged with senior services. Jessica is proud to be a “stand-out” agency that was conceived from top to bottom and holds personal relationships with employees.
Pictured left to right. Samantha Smith-Business Partner, Karen Bundy-CNA, Jessica Frazier-RN, Owner, James Richardson Jr (son)/Marketing