Mother and daughter Faye Campbell and Trisha Copeland admit that they have a lot in common. When Trisha was just 15, her mother, Faye, started her nursing journey. Faye was 40 years old and newly married, and says she’d always wanted to be a nurse.
“I married my husband in 1987, and a year later he asked me what I dreamed of becoming when I was a child,” recalls Faye, who worked as a waitress for many years while raising her three children as a single mother. “When I told him nursing, he encouraged me to go to college to find out what I’d need to do to make that dream come true.” The year that Trisha graduated high school, Faye graduated from Mid Michigan Community College with an Associate Degree of Nursing. She started her career as a staff nurse and a home health case manager.
For Trisha, it also took a while to find her way to nursing. She started college at 18 intending to become an English teacher, but stopped after a year and worked as a waitress, in a department store and even as a delivery driver. Eventually, at the age of 34, Trisha decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps. “I knew my mom loved her job as a nurse and I’ve always been a natural caregiver, so I decided nursing would be a great choice for me as well,” she says. Trisha earned the ADN and the BSN from the State College of Florida (in 2011 and 2013, respectively) and joined the cardiac stepdown unit at Manatee Memorial Hospital, a 319-bed facility with a state-of-the-art Heart and Vascular Center.
A yearning for more
As Faye’s career progressed—from home health to medical/surgical nursing—she had the opportunity to join VitalCare Hospice of the Straits in 2008, where she still works today. “I’ve found my niche,” she says. “Hospice is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
In 2012, at the same time that Trisha was earning her BSN, Faye also started the BSN after being encouraged to do so by the director of VitalCare. “My manager at the time was enrolled at American Sentinel, and when I checked it out for myself, I was very pleased to find it was financially feasible,” she says. Faye too graduated with the BSN in 2013.
Onward and upward
Faye and Trisha independently decided to continue their educational journeys and earn MSN degrees, but this time, they wanted to do it together. For Faye, American Sentinel was the obvious choice. “I chose American Sentinel for the MSN because of the great way the school treated me during my BSN,” she says. “Everyone was always prompt and courteous in answering any questions I had. The student success advisors are outstanding—and they offer customer service that goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
For Trisha, American Sentinel had her mom’s stamp of approval, but it also met all of her requirements. “American Sentinel was the most affordable online program I found, and because my mom had enjoyed her experience so much, I was willing to go for it,” she says. The women started their MSN programs within a few months of each other. Trisha is pursuing the nursing education specialization, while Faye is pursuing nursing management and organizational leadership.
Inspired and positioned for success
Going back to school has invigorated Faye in a way she never expected. “I was ready to retire, but from the minute I enrolled in the orientation class, I felt energized beyond what I ever thought possible,” she says. While she loves VitalCare and has no plans to leave—only to move beyond management if the opportunity arises—Faye hopes that the MSN will allow her to teach. “As I went through the BSN, I became so impressed with many of the instructors. I would like to become one of them one day.”
Trisha has also been pleased with the boost that earning her MSN, nursing education specialization has offered her career already. Also interested in teaching in the future, she was recently offered a full-time job with her alma mater, the State College of Florida, once she graduates. Down the road, Trisha plans to return to American Sentinel for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership.
Closer than ever
Trisha and Faye will complete their MSN degrees in 2016 and plan to attend commencement ceremonies in Denver to celebrate their accomplishment. “It’s truly been a blessing to share this experience with my mom, who has been the best role model for me for as long as I can remember,” Trisha says. “We’ve been there to support one another when things have been tough or frustrating. I’m very excited to graduate together.”
Although Faye is proud of her own efforts, she says her “heart bursts with pride” as she watches her daughter achieve her dreams. “I’m so proud of her, and she’s been my biggest encourager as well,” she says. “Completing this journey together is the most special thing in my life short of my marriage and my children. I get very sentimental thinking about graduating, and even more so when I think about walking across that graduation stage knowing that Trisha will graduate with me.”
Inspired by Faye and Campbell’s stories? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, 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.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.