Most people don’t discover their life’s calling before they’ve even mastered their ABC’s, but that’s exactly what happened to Susan Clinton.
At age four, Scottish-born Susan was admitted to the hospital, and the attention she received from all of the nurses instilled into her an aspiration that never faded. “I vowed that one day I would become a nurse and give patients the same caring attention I had received,” she says. At age 17, she moved to Dundee, Scotland, to attend the Dundee & Angus College of Nursing and Midwifery, where she became a Registered General Nurse. She got a job in an adult rehabilitation unit, but quickly realized that her passion was pediatrics. In 1993, Susan obtained the Registered Sick Children’s Nurse certificate.
Helping children around the world
Just a year into her career as a pediatric nurse in Scotland, Susan accepted a contract in a general pediatric unit in Saudi Arabia. There, she met her husband, an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force. They moved to Norway, and then the U.S. by way of South Carolina—with Susan working in pediatrics all the while. “I took a position as a care assistant in a general pediatric unit at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital and loved it,” Susan says. She studied for the NCLEX, passed and landed an RN position in the same unit. In 2003, she had the chance to move into pediatric intensive care, where she would stay for five years.
During her time at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital, Susan realized the importance of a bachelor’s degree. She enrolled in a distance learning Bachelor of Nursing program at the University of Dundee in Scotland and graduated in 2009. That same year, her husband was transferred to Muscat, Oman, where Susan became a school nurse at an international school.
A new adventure
In 2010, Susan was offered a position as a pediatric clinical resource nurse in a large teaching hospital in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, Tawam Hospital. A leading hospital in the UAE, Tawam is known for its neonatal care and managed by Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Susan jumped at the opportunity, opting to live in Al Ain during the week and join her husband in Muscat on the weekends.
Susan also decided the timing was right for more education. She learned about American Sentinel University’s online MSN program and enrolled in late 2011. “I chose American Sentinel because of the curriculum, the condensed eight-week classes and the fact that it is a military friendly university,” Susan says, adding that her desire to motivate and inspire her fellow nursing staff led her to pursue the nursing management and organizational leadership specialization.
In April 2014, Susan completed her MSN with a 4.0 GPA. “The camaraderie of students was great and my advisor, Sara Moulton, was always there for me when I had questions or doubts,” she says. One month later, Susan was offered a position as nurse manager of the pediatric intensive care and pediatric extended care unit at Tawam Hospital. She leads a team of 41 staff and says she is “inspired every day.”
“Ten years ago I never thought I would be in management,” Susan admits. “My interest in this degree was purely personal, but I wanted to learn about the qualities required to become a successful leader.” Through good fortune and hard work, it turned out that Susan’s MSN helped her become one herself. “I’ve put into practice all that I’ve learned as I manage our multidisciplinary team. I honestly believe my MSN degree has made me the leader I am today.”
Inspired by Susan’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like case management, informatics, or infection control. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of these nursing fields. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including an RN to BSN program and advanced degree programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection control, and executive leadership.