Tell me about your professional and educational background before you enrolled in our RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
I went back to school in 2009 for my generals for nursing fully expecting to flunk out, because I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself. But, I ended up with straight A’s and got into the RN program. I had to tend to a few mishaps along the way, but I finally ended up graduating in December 2014 and I passed my boards the following March. Before that I was a stay at home mom for 12 years and I’d never done anything outside of high school, so it was all a brand new experience to me and I loved every minute of it.
What led you to seek a nursing degree?
I’ve always been a natural caregiver. Before I met my husband I ran a daycare for five years, so taking care of others has always come very easily to me and I love doing it. But I think the thing that got me the most was that I suffered a stroke at 27 years old as the result of a car crash and I had some fabulous nurses take care of me. They were very inspiring as far as my therapy goes, getting my life back, and knowing that this wasn’t the end and that I could still have a future. Their care and the way that they treated me as a human being and not just a number just really inspired me to go further.
What drew you to the University of Saint Mary?
I have a coworker who I’ve been talking about ever since I graduated going back for my BSN. I eventually want to get my master’s and be a nurse educator. I knew I wasn’t going to wait real long. I was going to try and get back in a program right away. I have a coworker who was telling me how great Saint Mary’s was and the experience she had. It fit into her life, it wasn’t overwhelming, and USM was so supportive. USM really wanted their students to succeed. For me that was the big reason I chose the school. Hearing that you were really there for us and really wanted us to succeed and we weren’t doing this alone. I felt like I had a team with me doing this.
What has your experience been like so far as a student in our RN-BSN program?
I cannot say enough about Saint Mary’s. I’ve had 2 or 3 coworkers who are looking into the program, because I told them it’s such a positive program. You don’t feel like people are trying to lead you on. You don’t feel like people are trying to make you fail. You have this team behind you helping push you and support you throughout the whole journey.
What have you liked about your courses so far?
I haven’t disliked anything. I love school and I love to learn and I love gaining new knowledge. For me it’s been an absolute wonderful experience all the way around.
Tell me about the faculty who have taught your courses so far. What was your experience with them? How did they impact your learning experience?
I feel like the whole faculty, the whole school really, wants us as students to succeed. For instance, I was really sick a couple weeks back. We had an assignment due and I’m on top of it and I was looking every day for my grade and I saw that I got a zero. And I know I did it. It was a Sunday, but I emailed my professor and he got back to me immediately and said he didn’t receive it. I forwarded him the confirmation email that I submitted it, but I put it in the wrong Dropbox. He took it and still graded it and didn’t take any points off for me. He told me to feel better and he never even brought up the fact that I was contacting him on a Sunday. I was just shocked.
I’ve had many professors and I’ve never had a professor be like that, ever. They usually say the weekend is their time off so don’t contact them, even if it’s an online class. They’ll send office hours that are Monday through Friday. That’s what I was expecting to receive so it was very nice. It was just another way that this is a team and I felt like I was being supported.
How will earning this degree help you in reaching your career goals?
I have to do this for me. I could be a nurse for the rest of my life, because I have my AS degree. I absolutely love the place I work and I don’t have to have my BSN. I don’t ever have to work in a hospital. I’m going to school for me. My goal is that I want to teach and I want to be a preceptor. So it’s a stepping stone to the MSN but it’s also proving to myself that I can do this.
Ultimately I want to be a nurse educator. One of the reasons I chose Saint Mary’s is because I can go at a slower pace so that I can succeed but I can also take some classes that are master’s level classes while I’m taking my BSN classes. It helps me do it all at once. This is something I’m passionate about and I really want to do it.
What would you say to students who are considering entering the RN-BSN program?
I tell them how wonderful Saint Mary’s has been to me and how much I like it. Even though I’m only in my first term, I feel on top of the world. I feel like with Saint Mary’s help I can conquer this goal. I tell people that one thing I really like about Saint Mary’s is that we are given an advisor who is there for us every step of the way. You’re not doing this alone. They register us for classes and they talk to us. I feel like I actually have my own team to help me. It’s frustrating to figure out what classes to take next and what fits in your schedule. It’s nice to have somebody there that’s rooting for you. I’m going to school, working full time, I have a part time job, and I have kids. It’s nice to have somebody helping me. It’s one less thing that I have to worry about and it helps me succeed.