Amber Lange has always put her family first, but college has long been a personal goal.
“I had to wait to go to college, but it was worth the wait,” says the Montgomery County, Maryland, native, who had “three boys in diapers” when she finally decided it was her time. “I’ve always been a natural caregiver so I thought nursing would fit me.” At the encouragement of her husband, Amber signed up for a Certified Nurse Assistant program in 2003—but it wasn’t easy. “I struggled in school as a kid. To do this took a lot of positive self-talk and learning the tools to help myself. But I did it. And once I made the connection, I just kept plugging along.”
Continuing to climb
In 2009, Amber earned an Associate Degree of Nursing and got an RN position at Somerford Assisted Living Facility. That led her into special needs pediatric nursing and eventually school health for the Frederick County Health Department. In 2014, she returned to Somerford House to take a director of nursing position for a year and then to Frederick Memorial Hospital—a 233-bed hospital that is part of the Frederick Regional Health System—as a home healthcare liaison.
Driven to further her education
As she worked her way up, Amber began to recognize the importance of enhancing her skills and furthering her knowledge. “I feel it’s critical to be knowledgeable to meet patients’ needs,” she says. “To be the best nurse, we each need to be informed. That’s what drove me to go back for more education.”
Amber did her research and knew that as a busy mother and nurse, an online program would fit her life best. American Sentinel, she discovered, is accredited, affordable, and offers a quality BSN program. She started the journey in 2016 and hopes to graduate in 2018. “Already I can see how much these classes are benefitting me,” Amber says. “I’m really enjoying the teachers and peers and I’m learning a lot about best practices, insurance, evidence-based practice, and more. Healthcare is changing all the time. This program puts the issues right in front of you.”
A supportive employer
Aware of Amber’s educational pursuits, Frederick Memorial Hospital recognized her commitment to bettering herself as a nurse. When she decided to submit her resume for an RN care manager position with Frederick Integrated Health Network not long after beginning the BSN in 2016, she got the job.
“I was excited to take what I’ve learned in my career and apply it to this new role,” she says. Amber is embedded in a primary care endocrinology office, where she provides transitional care for patients once they return home from a hospital or nursing facility. “I really love it—it’s so me. I feel complete in this role.”
Not done yet
Amber’s BSN experience at American Sentinel has been so positive that she is strongly considering an MSN as well. It’s not a requirement for her job, but she has become hooked on learning. “I love sharing, teaching, and learning,” she says. “I’m not sure what MSN specialization I’ll pursue yet, but I want to keep going. This whole experience has given me a lot of confidence and so many more ideas.”
One idea is to open her own wellness center one day. “I see a need in our community for a place that addresses health from a holistic perspective: yoga, health coaching, and alternative therapies,” says Amber, an avid community volunteer. “I would love to do that one day. Wellness is a passion.” Reflecting on her career, she adds, inspires her even more to achieve her goals. “I never realized how much of an impact you can make on your community as a nurse. I have a lot of ambition for my future, and I’ve learned that the sky is my limit.”
Inspired by Amber’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.