From clinical work to insurance: Two nurses’ journeys to WPS

By Jessica Brooks

The path to WPS Health Solutions looks different for every single one of us. For National Nurses Week, we wanted to reach out to two different nurses whose paths both led from clinical nursing to the insurance world./p>

Liedewey Sims and Emily Zehner, both Medical Management Nurses for WPS, started their careers working in hospitals.


Emily Zehner lives in Appleton, Wis., with her husband, Ben, and their 1-year-old son, Weston. After the birth of their son, she was looking for a career with a better balance between being successful and happy and allowing her the flexibility and time to be there for her family.

“When I first saw the opening at WPS, I was very intrigued and excited to learn more, as it seemed to be a perfect fit for my professional and personal interests," Emily said.

She started her registered nurse career about 7.5 years ago, working in a hospital. She then shifted to an OB-GYN clinic until she was at a point in her career where she wanted to explore nonclinical RN roles.

“Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful to me. Even with working remotely, I am so impressed with the great level of communication among those I work with. I enjoy the balance between working on projects on my own but also have opportunities to work collaboratively with others," Emily said. “I work in both the Policy and ALJ departments, and I like being able to work on different tasks and always have something new to work on."

Along with working at WPS, she enjoys the time with her family and relaxing with her hobbies. “Some of my other hobbies are baking, reading, going for walks, and spending time with my husband and son. Being a mom is the greatest joy in my life! I've recently started a journey of baking homemade sourdough bread, and I am loving it so far; and have been baking up a storm lately! If I'm not working, sleeping, or taking care of Weston, I am probably baking bread or trying out new recipes in the kitchen," she concluded.


Liedewey Sims works remotely from northern Michigan; she lives in a very small town called Grayling. She started her health care career working as a nurse tech for a large hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. While in that role, she was attending nursing school for her licensed practical nurse degree. (Previously, she had a career in computer information systems after receiving a B.S. degree.) Continuing her education further, while working full-time as an LPN, she started to work toward becoming an RN.

"After receiving my RN, I was promoted to manager. Shortly after this, my previous boss contacted me regarding a position in northern Michigan for a clinical services manager, which would allow me to pursue my passion for education and training program development for health care," Liedewey said. "The rest is history—I worked in that position and other leadership/management positions for the northern Michigan hospital system for seven years until WPS."

She explained that she always felt there was a gap in previous clinic manager roles that she didn't have training or experience related to insurance or billing and coding.

"I tried to absorb as much as possible in my manager role to learn this 'foreign concept,' but it was difficult to do anything extra with all of my other responsibilities. I found that when I did have the opportunity to learn (and then teach to my staff) anything related to insurance/billing/coding, I LOVED it! When that role started to transition and then come to an end, I knew I wanted to do something that would force me to learn this part of health care that I had no previous education or experience with!" she said.

“I'm happily surprised by how much I learn each day in this position! I do clinical review for appeals, and there are so many different medications, procedures, and testing that I didn't have experience with in my clinical 'hands-on' nursing roles. I love that I'm still building on my nursing knowledge, even though I'm not doing direct patient care."

You can find Liedewey and her boyfriend mountain biking, paddleboarding, downhill skiing, and enjoying time with their family when she isn't working. They have three cats and three sons; the sons are Matt, 22, Logan, 17, and Dylan, 15.

“Matt just graduated from Michigan State University. Logan just graduated high school and will be going into the Air Force. Dylan is a super-social teen that just went to his first prom and is looking forward to football season starting."


Liedewey said, “My manager, Becky Young, is wonderful, and the team of nurses I work with is the BEST! We all have different nursing backgrounds and knowledge, and we work as a team to help each other when there is a challenging case or just general questions. I'm honored to be part of such an amazing team and great company!"