Realizing an Educational Goal Through TAP

March 2, 2016 marked the graduation date for 30 St. Elizabeth Healthcare registered nurses from the Thomas More College RN to BSN accelerated degree program (TAP). TMC and St. Elizabeth Healthcare partnered to make the cohort opportunity available with the shared goal of improving care through continuing education. This is the first cohort to graduate after receiving an education designed to help them reach their professional goals while balancing work and home responsibilities.

Cindy Jernigan, BSN graduate, had this to say earlier this winter, “I am currently a student in the Thomas More RN to BSN St Elizabeth Cohort to better serve my community and St. Elizabeth Healthcare. I am passionate about education. I began my personal journey into a nursing career about ten years ago. The decision was based, in part, by two life-changing events. My elderly mother became suddenly widowed, and needed to move close to family due to her own failing health. She chose to move close to me, and within a week, she had suffered an MI (Myocardial Infarction). I became completely immersed in her health care and management. Very soon after, my mother was diagnosed with multiple chronic diseases. My spouse also suffered an MI and during his recovery we discussed our plans for the future. My mother’s health had stabilized for the time being, and with encouragement from her, my spouse, friends, and children, I chose to start back to school for nursing.

“I serve my community by being involved in many fund raising events and educational opportunities. I have been a role model to many friends and co-workers, to advance their education and become more active in community service. Staff and management have recognized me for my caring and positive attitude, mentoring, leadership, and involvement in community and staff education. My most recent award was for Excellence in Nursing, and developing a unit and facility specific policy for nursing handoff from the Emergency Department to the Inpatient Unit in which I work. I have also developed many projects that have positively impacted patient and nurse satisfaction. I am currently working on my fourth Clinical Ladder, I am chairperson of our Unit-Based Council, member of Acute Care Council, and volunteer for virtually all fund-raising activities, plus I am a volunteer advocate for CareNet.

“The impact this degree will have on my career as a nurse will be to give me the additional tools I need to be the best bedside nurse I can be. I love bedside nursing, care management and education. I will serve my community and hospital by giving back what I have learned. I give one hundred percent in everything I do. I feel through all of this, I have inspired many of my friends and co-workers to become more active in the community and realize their potential by returning to school or obtaining certification in something they are passionate about. My plans are to continue growing, learning, and giving. I am a non-traditional student with traditional values such as ethical treatment and hard work.”

For more information about the RN to BSN program go to thomasmore.edu/rn2bsn.

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