Veteran Critical Care Travel Nurse Focuses Career on Teaching

– Deep Understanding of How Patient Care Issues Affect the Outcomes of Care Helps Nurse Discover Passion for Teaching –

AURORA, Colo. – July 17, 2013 – The work environment of critical care travel nurse can be a bit demanding.

After 20 years administering life-saving skills to unconscious or heavily sedated patients often at a moment’s notice, making around-the-clock immediate- and emergency-care decisions, providing constant care to patients and simultaneously offering support to family members, American Sentinel nursing student Sandy Brickel grew concerned about the increasing physical toll of her job as a critical care travel nurse.

She decided her life needed to change and knew it was time to go back to school to earn Bachelor of Science Nursing.

“I’ve spent most of my career working with chronically, critically ill patients and I knew that a BSN degree would supplement my specialized critical care certification and give me the ability to better serve my patients,” says Brickel.

A Robust Career

Throughout her career Brickel, an Indiana native, worked in critical care, stepdown/telemetry and as a travel nurse in her home state and all over the U.S. When she began researching her BSN options, she found American Sentinel University and liked what they had to offer.

“The structure of the classes and the student support mattered most to me. I hadn’t been in school for a long time and felt very comfortable with what they offered. I decided to go there because I knew they would be there to support me,” she says.

In fall 2011, Brickel began the RN to BSN program. What she gained most, she says, is knowledge she can apply directly to her job as a nurse at a long-term acute care facility.

“It’s been a big benefit of going back to school – I’m able to give more to my patients,” Brickel says. After two years of hard work, she continues to work the third shift all night, homeschool her 12-year-old daughter and care for her elderly mother during the day.

Expanding More Than Just Her Knowledge Base

Brickel graduated in February 2013. She credits American Sentinel for expanding her horizons.

“I see the world very differently and have gained insights and knowledge about promoting health and preventing disease,” says Brickel.

Through the support of her student success advisor, Jordan Bresnahan, and her nursing professors, Brickel was able to grow as a leader and professional as well.

Thanks to a nomination by Bresnahan, she got involved in American Sentinel’s Admissions, Retention and Commencement Committee and Policies and Procedures Committee. Then in 2012, she was also invited to join the Indiana Nurses Association Legislative Network Task Force.

“The nursing profession provides the fundamental tools to be a lifelong learner,” says Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Nursing Programs at American Sentinel University. “The very nature of what we teach: to be an advocate for the patient, to continually practice nursing ethics and to make sound judgments, allow for our students to apply these lessons throughout their professional and personal lives.”

“The indispensability of our RN to BSN program is that it leads the way to new avenues of thinking,” says Foster. “Our role in a student’s life is to help bridge them from wherever they are to help them move forward to where they would like to be,” Foster adds.

Drawn to Teach

Throughout her two decades as a nurse, Brickel has discovered a passion for her field and now knows what her next calling is: teaching.

“I have come to a point in my life where I have deep understanding of how patient care issues affect the outcomes of care,” she says. “The idea of training other nurses is especially exciting. My passion is in the management of others’ health. I feel I can truly make a difference as a teacher.”

Brickel enjoyed her American Sentinel experience so much that she is now enrolled in the MSN program, nursing education specialization. When she completes her MSN online degree, she plans to earn the case management specialization as well and her Doctor of Nursing Practice.

“I just love the learning atmosphere at American Sentinel,” she says. “I’ve loved my experience.”

Nurses interested in supplementing their specialized care certifications should consider earning a MSN degree. Nurses are expected to advance their education to meet current health care reform initiatives and strengthen the nursing workforce. With a MSN degree, a nurse will enjoy greater career mobility and expanded job options.

For more information or to register for American Sentinel University’s MSN program.

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 university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of DETC 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.