In many ways, Tracey Young’s life has come full circle. As a child, the Pennsylvania native almost lost her life due to a collapsed lung—but she attributes her ability to recover to the nurses and doctors at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. “I was very influenced by the amazing people who took care of me, and it was that experience that made me want to pursue healthcare when I grew up,” says Tracey. When she finished high school, she became a Licensed Practical Nurse and started her career in obstetrical and pediatric nursing at a community hospital in her area.
Back to where it all began
During her time in obstetrics/gynecology, Tracey focused on enhancing her skill set. She attended the Pennsylvania College of Technology for her A.A.S. (2000) and BSN (2003) and became a Registered Nurse. From the very start of her career, she also got involved in the nursing profession. Tracey is a panel member for the National Council State Board of Nursing and a national planning committee member for the Society of Urological Nurses.
That involvement was rewarding—and it also led to the opportunity Tracey had dreamed of her whole life. In 2007, she had the chance to continue her career at Geisinger, joining the operating room team of nurses. “It still amazes me that I ended up at this place that saved my life years ago,” Tracey says. Today, she assists primarily in urological and gynecological surgical procedures. “I absolutely love it here.”
A cutting-edge hospital
Widely recognized for innovative delivery of healthcare, Geisinger is one of the largest rural health services organizations in the country and a Magnet hospital. It serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout central and northeast Pennsylvania. “We do amazing things like use robotics in surgery,” she says. “It is so awesome to be a part of this team.” Her hard work has earned her recognition as well. Tracey was selected for Geisinger’s Nurses Emerging as Leaders program in 2014.
The continual pursuit to better herself
A few years into her Geisinger career, Tracey decided the time was right to continue her education—and she was encouraged by Geisinger Medical Center to consider one of its educational partners, American Sentinel University. Tracey started the MSN, nursing education specialization, in 2013. “From day one, I received so much support from professors and staff,” she says. “I learned so much in every class, and there were many other aspects like affordability and class structure that made it a great experience.”
Over the course of several years, Tracey had the misfortune of sustaining several concussions. In October 2014, she suffered her fifth one. The doctors told her that the cumulative damage was considered a traumatic brain injury. At the time, Tracey was halfway through her final class at American Sentinel.
Since then, Tracey has been focused on getting stronger. Between regular medical appointments with specialists several hours from home and the challenges she deals with to complete everyday activities that used to be simple, it hasn’t been easy. Care and support from her American Sentinel support system—as well as her bosses and colleagues at Geisinger and her husband—has helped. “My student success advisor, Julie Alexander, took the time to discuss and arrange the accommodations suggested by my concussion specialist that would help me finish my class,” Tracey says. In July 2015, Tracey did just that and proudly accepted her diploma from American Sentinel.
Focused on the future
Tracey hopes to return from medical leave as soon as possible to the job she loves. “I know it will take time,” she says. With the MSN, nursing education specialization, under her belt, Tracey is eager to teach other nurses in the ever-innovative setting that is Geisinger’s operating room. “I love to teach and to learn, and I think I’m now better able to help other nurses. I want to continue to advance my career at this amazing hospital.”
Inspired by Tracey’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing management and organizational leadership, 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.