Retired Nursing Instructional Specialist Earns DNP Educational Leadership for New Role as Nurse Educator

Role as Nurse Educator Helps Nurse Work in Retirement and Enjoy Life on the Road

AURORA, Colo. – February 28, 2017 – For retired nurses or those thinking about a career post-retirement, a DNP in Educational Leadership provides an edge for those considering a second career in nursing education.  American Sentinel University’s nursing dean says there is a significant shortage of nursing educators which presents an opportunity for DNP-educated nurses to earn a great living in an area that’s enriching, rewarding and in-demand.

Benita Smith, BSN, MSN, a 14-year nursing veteran at Methodist Healthcare in San Antonio, TX, saw the opportunity to try something new after working in home health. Smith worked as a telephone triage nurse and as an assistant director of surgical services before returning to the operating room as a perioperative nurse and educator at Methodist Healthcare System.

Smith had the opportunity to teach clinical to students enrolled at Galen College of Nursing. She so enjoyed the thrill of teaching that she decided to become a full-time nursing educator.

“I love shaping the nurses of tomorrow,” says Smith, who taught advanced medical-surgical nursing at Galen’s San Antonio campus. That same year, Smith earned her MSN at Western Governors University. “Nursing is so great because you can enhance your position without having to change your career and it’s been fun to try new things and places.”

Time for further education

When Smith’s husband retired, the couple made plans for their next life chapter: traveling the country in an RV. But Smith wasn’t quite ready to retire.

So when Galen needed an online instructional specialist who could monitor faculty participation in online courses and develop curriculum – the perfect remote job – she jumped at the opportunity.

Smith was already thinking about how she could continue working in retirement while enjoying life on the road. Her supervisor, Lacey Bass, was a Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership student at American Sentinel and encouraged Smith to earn her DNP. “I wanted a doctorate, but with our life plan, this online program was just what I needed.”

“A DNP with a specialization in educational leadership prepares master’s educated nurses like Benita for a leadership role as a nurse educator,” says Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Dean of Nursing and Healthcare Programs at American Sentinel University. “Healthcare is rapidly changing and becoming more complex, and as we focus on achieving better outcomes; nurses need the highest level of evidence-based knowledge and practice expertise. Our DNP practice experiences are designed to provide students the opportunity to immediately apply the concepts and knowledge they learn in their nursing roles.”

Smith enrolled in American Sentinel’s DNP Educational Leadership program in August 2015.

American Sentinel’s ACEN-accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice program with a specialization in educational leadership is a practice-based, leadership-focused program that prepares faculty, program directors, and deans to lead nursing education programs. The online DNP nursing program is one of a very few that offers a DNP degree with an educational leadership specialization.

As a nursing student Smith will be taught by some of the top nurse educators in the nation and surrounded by colleagues who share her education-focused goal. Smith will be learning among students from top hospitals around the U.S. such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, UCLA Medical Center, Geisinger Health System and Spectrum Health System.

A wise investment

Smith’s American Sentinel experience has far surpassed her expectations. “I’ve been so pleased with every class and every instructor as well as the quality of the coursework,” she says. She regularly applies what she’s learning to her work.

“I know that I’ll come away from this program with more than just three letters behind my name, but have learned a lot.”

In her role at Galen, Smith is in good company. As an educational partner of American Sentinel, the college has several other faculty members enrolled in the DNP program as well.

Bolstering her future

When Smith completes her DNP program, she’s confident that her newfound credentials will enable her to take her career as far as she wants.

“I can grow at Galen, which continues to impress hospitals with the quality of our students,” she says. “The DNP opens up a world of future possibilities for me at a time when nurse educators are in such high demand.”

Learn more about American Sentinel University’s online DNP program with a specialization in educational leadership.

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.