BSN degreeMarjorie Fournier had dreamed of being a professional nurse since her days as a teenage candy striper. While delivering cards and pouring ice water for patients, “I grew to love the hospital environment,” she says. Although her parents urged her to pursue a degree, she feared that the requisite classes in science—never her strong suit—would overwhelm her. So she tiptoed into the field, first as a nurse assistant, then as an LPN.

Yet she wasn’t satisfied. “My desire was always to continue and finish, to get to a place where I felt complete as a nurse,” says Marjorie, now a service line manager for a Michigan hospital system. “I wanted to do so much more.”

She swallowed her trepidation and made the leap to higher learning. After she earned her associate degree, she finally felt ready to consider a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. “I was in what I call education mode, where you’re in the throes of it,” she says. “Your brain is constantly motivated.”

Plus, her colleagues had begun to take notice of her potential. “When I was interviewed for a staff nurse position in the night shift, I was asked to be a charge nurse,” she says. “Then I was asked to apply for a house supervisor position. My knowledge base and skills were starting to pay off, but I didn’t have the education.”

With the full support of her husband (“He’s my biggest fan,” she says), she plunged ahead. “The hardest part is to make the decision and sign up for the class,” Marjorie says. “Once you sign up, you’re on a roll.”

A Change for the Better

Although Marjorie began her BSN courses at a local university, the school wasn’t a fit. She soon grew frustrated by the sense that she was spinning her wheels. So when American Sentinel representatives paid a recruiting visit to her workplace, she was relieved to hear them assure prospective students, “We can help you.” The university offers a flexible, CCNE-accredited online RN to BSN program—exactly what she needed.

Those words renewed her enthusiasm. Her first American Sentinel class, which covered community health nursing, reinforced it. “It was fabulous,” she says. “It’s a critical thinking class, and you can apply that to any kind of nursing care.” Now, she’s moved on to leadership-focused courses and looks forward to becoming a better professional nurse and manager through the knowledge she has gained. And three courses into the program, she’s maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Making Connections

One of the biggest myths about online education, Marjorie says, is that there’s no meaningful interaction with peers. “These classes don’t have to be impersonal,” she says. “You get to know how classmates are going to answer questions, and you can tap into their knowledge base. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get a study buddy or [form] a group that you can bounce ideas off of.”

She’s formed productive relationships with faculty and staff as well, and especially appreciates Dr. Linda Battle, one of her professors. “She has constructive criticism and positive suggestions,” Marjorie says. “And she put out her whole bio, her personal email and cell number, so that everybody who needs to contact her can do that.” Marjorie also praises her American Sentinel student success advisor, Holli Rich, whom she calls “fantastic.”

nursing education A Platform for Growth

Marjorie is confident that her American Sentinel degree will spark continued career growth. “I have no current plans to continue beyond the BSN, but I don’t intend to stop my nursing education,” she says. Because most of the positions within her hospital system require a bachelor’s degree, she expects to have a much greater range of choice in deciding which step she wants to take next.

“It’s going to help me expand my role again,” she says. “With a BSN, I can work in senior management as a professional nurse. My education will match.”