When Terry Glenister was a Licensed Practical Nurse at a long-term care facility for critically ill children, she earned the loving nickname, “Mama.”
It was certainly a fitting moniker for the North Carolina single mother who raised her own three children—and cared for hundreds of others over the course of her 15 years in the position. Though she loved the job, Terry tried to return to school for more nursing education several times. “Life was just too hectic and I couldn’t do it,” says Terry.
Despite the initial setback, Terry never gave up on the dream to enhance her skill set and further her education. When her children were older and she had remarried, she earned an associate degree in nursing from her local community college—at the same time as her middle child. “We graduated in 2006,” Terry recalls. As luck would have it, the pair walked the graduation stage together…on Mother’s Day weekend, no less.
Time to earn her BSN
After becoming an RN in 2006, Terry joined the trauma floor at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, a Vidant Health facility. Vidant Health serves 29 counties and 1.4 million people in eastern North Carolina. Once again, she found herself wanting to return to school. “I was a seasoned nurse and I loved my job, but I wanted to advance myself,” Terry says. She looked into BSN programs in her area, but none were close by or offered exactly what she needed. Then, she found American Sentinel. “American Sentinel recognized all of my years of experience and had a program and structure I liked. I was very nervous about using the computer and taking math and writing classes, but I found the professors and staff to be supportive all along the way.”
In March 2013, Terry started the BSN. With the support of her husband, three grown children, and American Sentinel staff, she graduated in December 2014. “My degree enhanced my knowledge about the field of nursing and how it will help me improve my community through better healthcare.”
From “Mama” to teacher
Throughout her nursing career, Terry has developed a passion for training other nurses. “I’ve gotten to the point in my career that I’m able to teach other nurses some of the personal skills they need in addition to the healthcare knowledge—skills that allow them to make a difference,” she says.
Immediately after she graduated, Terry approached Pitt Community College, her ADN alma mater, about becoming a part-time clinical instructor. “I knew the head of the program and they knew that I would love to teach new nurses. Once I had the degree, I didn’t waste any time applying.” The clinical teaching position isn’t the only opportunity that came up for Terry because of her BSN. Six months after she graduated from American Sentinel, Terry landed a job in Vidant Medical’s ambulatory surgical unit. She started in August 2015, and now teaches clinicals one day a week.
Confident and newly inspired
Terry says that earning the BSN has reinvigorated her career and motivated her to do things she never considered before. She also decided to pursue the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification—and she passed the exam on her first try. “American Sentinel lit a fire in me,” she says. “I’m a teacher at heart and it’s so exciting that I’m finally doing something I have always longed to do. And I have the bachelor’s degree I’ve always wanted. I really do feel that American Sentinel has given me everything I’ve needed to succeed!”
Inspired by Terry’s story? A BSN is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of nursing and 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.