Wayne State University

In the business of supporting nurses and nursing education

In the business of supporting nurses and nursing education
Michael Gillet, President of Health Partner, Inc.

Michael Gillet is not a nurse, but for more than 30 years he’s been in the nursing business.  

“To be honest, I was trying to find work at a CPA firm,” Gillet says. “I got a job at Beaumont, and I worked there for four years and was promoted five times. Eventually I said, ‘OK, I think I’m going to do pretty well here. I’m going to concentrate on health care.’”

Gillet worked in the hospital’s financial planning department, a position that allowed him to collaborate with leaders throughout the hospital. As a young professional, Gillet’s passion for the work grew as he was exposed to all aspects of health care.

“It gave me a huge overview of the hospital. I think over the years I’ve been in every aspect of health care,” Gillet says. “That’s what I like most; I’ve had experience in all facets.”

This varied experience helped Gillet make new connections with physicians and other health care organizations. He started helping companies with Medicare certification, and in many cases he stayed on as their financial consultant.

“I worked with a nursing consultant who did the clinical side, and I did the financial side,” explains Gillett.

In the late 1980s, Gillet started working with a client focused on hospital, private duty and nursing home staffing. He saw potential in the field, and decided to start his own venture staffing nurses in homes, hospitals and elder care facilities. Health Partners, Inc., a home health care and staffing operation, is now in its 24th year of business.

“Health Partners started with a group of guys who owned an IT design staffing company, and knew nothing about health care,” says Gillet. “They became my financiers, and I hired a staff coordinator. The two of us were basically the whole business.”

Today, Heath Partners operates in five cities across Michigan, and has expanded its services to include staffing nurses who specialize in care for individuals suffering from catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord and closed-head trauma.

It is the value he places on education that attracted Gillet to Wayne State’s College of Nursing. In 2006, he was asked to get involved with the college’s Board of Visitors by colleague Sheila Atkinson. Gillet saw an opportunity to help shape the education of the very nurses he might someday employ.

“I was just humbled to be asked to join the board,” Gillet says. “I’ve been in and around nursing for 38 years, and I think Wayne State has a great program.”

As a board member, Gillet is helping connect the college with local business leaders through a series of informational meetings that focus on the importance of investing in nursing education for community health. He also is making clinical training opportunities available for nursing students at Health Partners.

“There was a lot of favorable feedback from our nurses about working with the students,” Gillet says. “It makes Health Partners stronger when we can provide these collaborative efforts, and my staff gets excited about it.”

In addition to his volunteer efforts, Gillet is a generous benefactor of the College of Nursing. He has contributed annually to the college, and has arranged a $1 million planned gift to ensure his efforts carry on in the future.

“I think everyone should give back. It makes for a stronger community,” Gillet says.

He may have started out with aspirations of becoming a CPA, but today, Gillett is proud of the success he’s had in health care, and the difference his company makes in the business of nursing.

“What nurses do in all aspects of health care leads to better community wellness,” he says. “I’m happy that I can support the field.”

(February 27, 2015)

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