Why I became a nurse educator
For me, nursing was a second career, but it has turned out to be my true calling. After college, I started a career in public relations. But healthcare was always an interest for me and kept calling out to me like a siren song.
When I was in college I worked as a clerk in a local emergency room and my sister was earning a nursing degree herself. It didn't take long before I realized that healthcare was where I belonged. I knew I needed to earn my BSN to get up to speed and quickly enrolled in a web-based BSN program at Texas Tech University.
Armed with my BSN and the desire to help those who are ailing, I started out in home healthcare. I eventually worked my way up to become a director of nursing. I was always hungry to learn more and was looking to advance myself both professionally and personally. Suffering a hearing deficit provided the additional motivation I needed to go back to school. I now wear two hearing aids, but when I lost my fine-tune hearing completely, I knew I couldn't do patient care anymore. Although I couldn't provide care at the bedside anymore, I knew I could still make a big impact on the quality of care for our patients.
In 2010, I enrolled in an online MSN nursing education program. I think nursing education is where I was always meant to be. Education has always been a place where I feel I can shine and it made sense to move in this career direction.
While I was in graduate school, I was offered a position at Galen College of Nursing in San Antonio, teaching in their RN program. It was, without question, my dream job. I loved my job and the challenges that came with it, so when I graduated with my MSN in 2013, I knew I would continue my education so I could go even further professionally.
Once I had decided that I wanted to earn my doctorate, I started doing research. I wanted a school that was trusted, offered specialized information for leaders, and would fit into my busy schedule. Several of my colleagues at Galen College were looking at the programs at American Sentinel University. I liked the format of their DNP program. I noticed that unlike most doctorate programs, you could complete your capstone project while taking courses which effectively shortens the length of the program. The cost appealed to me as well, so I enrolled.
The American Sentinel University DNP focused on education and leadership. I was able to spend my time learning this specialized information for leaders and it was a game-changer.
Everything about the program worked for me. It was online, which fit into my very busy professional life while still allowing me to balance a personal life. The courses run for eight weeks so you learn in a very immersive way, and then can move onto the next subject. That keeps you from ever feeling stagnant. The faculty and leadership were phenomenal to work with and I learned from them and my fellow classmates every day.
Nursing professionals of any specialization, including long-term care, can gain new knowledge and build on their skills to grow professionally with advanced education such as the DNP program at American Sentinel University.
For me, I was able to take the knowledge I learned in the virtual classroom, and apply it to my work at Galen College immediately. My doctoral education has prepared me for a leadership role and to help faculty prepare for accreditation processes. Choosing the American Sentinel program is the best thing I ever did because it armed me with the skills and confidence to meet the challenge of coordinating facilities with multiple priorities for patient care management and organizational demands.
I graduated earlier this month with the DNP, educational leadership specialization. I graduated with my DNP cohort made up of nurse educators from all across the country. Each of my fellow graduates brought their own unique experiences and perspectives to the group from which I was able to learn. We were all so different, but bonded by the common goal we shared of earning this degree so we can return to our communities and implement real change in healthcare. I'm off and on my way; for me, Galen College, and my community.
Lacey G. Bass, DNP, RN, CNE, is the Online Nursing Associate Program Director at Galen College.