AURORA, Colo., July 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 80,000 qualified applicants are turned away from nursing schools each year, according to The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) due to a shortage of nurse educators to train future nursing professionals. As a result, nursing education is an in-demand career that offers a high-level of job security, opportunities for advancement and great personal reward.
Online nursing schools, like American Sentinel University, help prepare nurses to earn the credentials needed to teach the next generation of nurses.
"Nurse educators often feel a calling and are highly satisfied with their work and find the interaction with students quite rewarding. Most take pride in the role they play in preparing nurses to care for their patients," says Karen Whitham, Ed.D., MSN, RN, CNE, and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Nursing Programs at American Sentinel University. Whitham is also a certified nurse educator and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Honor Society of Nursing.
When Jessica Bezotte, BSN, RN, of Kenosha, Wis., landed her dream job in 2011 and began working with cancer patients at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America on the medical oncology ward, she knew more education was a requirement to advance her career.
Bezotte worked as unit shift lead and says what she loves best about her job is that she gets to lead the staff, but she still gets to care for patients, "I love helping my staff figure things out, helping them determine how to do their jobs better."
When her employer announced its initiative to have 80 percent of its nursing workforce become BSN educated or higher, Bezotte immediately started exploring her options.
"As soon as my youngest child started kindergarten, I decided it was time," says Bezotte. With the support of her husband, she approached her boss, who was a student at American Sentinel University.
"American Sentinel came highly recommended and I got a great impression from the start," she says. Jessica enrolled in the RN to BSN/MSN program at American Sentinel University.
Getting it Done In January 2013, Jessica started the program. As a student, wife, mother of four, and full-time nurse, it was no small feat, but she was focused and determined.
In addition to her role at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, she is a PRN nurse in the intensive care unit of Wheaton Franciscan, working a shift a week to stay current on clinical areas outside of oncology. "I worked very hard to stay organized and on top of it all," she says. In March 2016, Jessica graduated from the MSN, nursing education specialization with a 4.0 GPA.
Reaching Goal: Nursing Educator Bezotte pursued the MSN, nursing education specialization to lay the groundwork to return to the place where it all began for her.
"I had a great experience at Gateway Technical College, and I would love to become a first- or second-semester nursing instructor one day," she says. While her children are young, she plans to continue to work the night shift so she can be available for them after school, but in the next several years, she would love to start teaching.
"I think as a new nursing student, the instructors can make such an important difference for you. Those students are eager and excited, and I would love the opportunity to teach them during that important part of their lives."
Whitham notes that most nurse educators have extensive clinical experience, and many choose to continue to care for patients after becoming educators. "Nursing education is the perfect choice for nurses who like to collect knowledge and want to play a critical role in healthcare by serving as a role model for future nurses to help strengthen the nursing profession."
Better From the Experience As a nurse who is committed to keeping her skills up to date, Bezotte says that the MSN was an eye opener.
"There is so much happening in healthcare today, and this program gave me a perspective from many different vantage points," she says. "I think the biggest thing I've learned is the importance of research and data."
Bezotte also feels grateful that her children have watched her pursue her goal. "One unexpected benefit of going to college in adulthood is that your children see you doing it," she says. "It's an opportunity to be a role model. I'm excited that they were able to be a part of this."
About American Sentinel University American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing (BSN, MSN, and DNP) and healthcare management (MBA Healthcare, M.S. Information Systems Management, and M.S. Business Intelligence and Analytics). Its affordable, flexible bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 234-5100, www.deac.org