“I love American Sentinel so much, I’m like a billboard for the university,” jokes Rebecca Carrillo, BSN student since 2015.
The dialysis nurse didn’t get into the field until the age of 32, first starting her healthcare career as a medical assistant. But when a mentor encouraged her to return to school, she fulfilled a dream she’d had for many years: to help people. Rebecca started out in pediatrics at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California, then found her way to dialysis. She joined DaVita in 2009.
Another passion: teaching patients
When Rebecca joined DaVita Dialysis in 2009, one of the aspects of her job was to teach patients to manage their health. “I realized how much I loved working with patients after their diagnosis so that they could become educated on how to manage their kidney disease after they left our care,” she says. “It was the best feeling in the world to teach them how to take care of themselves from home and get their lives back.”
Her defining moment
Although Rebecca loves her job and had the chance to build a clinic from the ground up, something was missing. “For years, I’d wanted to get my bachelor’s degree, but it was too expensive,” says Rebecca. But one day in June 2015, something clicked—and she went online to research online BSN programs. “It was like a light went on for me. I found American Sentinel, realized I could afford it and within a day, I was on my way to enrolling.”
That step seemed to open other doors. In November, Rebecca became aware that the clinical educator from Baxter International with whom she had worked for years on the DaVita side was retiring. “I have worked with the clinical education group at Baxter for seven years and have always thought it might be something I’d love doing,” she says. “They knew me and they know how much I love the education side of things, so I applied, interviewed and got the job!”
A new adventure
In January 2016, Rebecca started as a clinical educator at Baxter in Chicago. “I’m leaving patient care after 15 years, and I’m now going into an educator role, but also a business role, where I’ll work with our sales team to show hospitals how to use our dialysis products,” she says. It’s a big challenge, but one that Rebecca is excited about. “This is my dream job. I’m so happy to show my son that you can start a career at 32 and get your dream job at 49.”
Pursuing her BSN
Although Rebecca has a ways to go toward finishing her degree—she hopes to graduate in May 2017—she’s already seeing the benefits of her education. “Everything I’ve learned so far in my classes has been so relevant to my career,” she says. “I appreciate that, especially now as I’m changing careers and continuing to grow.” After she graduates with the BSN, Rebecca plans to pursue American Sentinel’s MBA Healthcare.
More than anything, Rebecca says she is grateful for the education. “American Sentinel’s mission is to help people better themselves, and they definitely achieved that with me,” she says. “I have more confidence and I feel that has allowed me to seize opportunities. Really, I don’t have enough words to express how happy I am with the American Sentinel program.”
Inspired by Rebecca’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.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.