Nurse Overcomes Health Struggles to Earn BSN from American Sentinel University

Nurse Earns BSN as Role Model to Daughters: Nursing is Lifelong Learning

AURORA, Colo. – August 1, 2017 – American Sentinel University nursing student Sally Brown overcame a stage three cancer diagnosis to proudly complete her BSN in June 2017. She attributes her adversity to the support of her family, employer, coworkers, and everyone at American Sentinel University.

Brown, a nurse with Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital in Zeeland, Michigan, has worked in several areas of the hospital, from admissions to case management. She is now focused on medical/surgical, which she refers to as “the position I love.”

“American Sentinel is an educational partner with Spectrum, and it was the right time to do it in my nursing career. Their BSN program was just what I needed. With my employer’s support, I got started, and it was a great decision,” she says.

A Fight to the Finish

Then cancer changed Brown and her husband’s life.  After her husband had been diagnosed with a multiple myeloma, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Through their treatments, however, Brown stayed positive and never considered quitting the BSN program she started in 2013.

“If I gave up school, cancer won. This was something I’ve wanted for a long time. I wasn’t willing to quit.”

Even through chemotherapy and radiation, Brown says she kept her eye on the finish line. “Honestly, I just put my head down and did what I had to do.”

An Influence for Her Daughters

Brown’s two daughters are now deep into their careers and served as great inspiration for their mother’s academic pursuit.  One is a cardiothoracic surgical resident at Yale University Hospital while the other, an adjunct professor at Vermont University, is working toward her Ph.D.

“I always wanted to get my bachelor’s degree for the pride of my daughters,” she says. “I wanted to show them that when they were little, and I got my associate degree, it was the start of lifelong learning.”

Now that Brown has graduated with the BSN, she’s eagerly looking forward but knows that tomorrow is promised to no one. She looks forward to a normal life again and says life is about taking action on what you want.

“Cancer wasn’t my choice, but getting a degree was. My plan now is to celebrate the accomplishment and go forward enjoying life the best I can.”

Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Dean of Nursing and Healthcare Programs at American Sentinel University applauds Brown’s accomplishment.

“Nursing is about making a difference in the lives of patients, but Sally has taken this concept to an entirely new level as a way to overcome great adversity. She’s positively channeled this calling into a tremendous personal achievement. Our student success advisors, faculty and everyone at the University were proud to support her efforts to the finish line. We salute Sally for being an inspiration to her daughters and the field of nursing, and her dedication to lifelong learning.”

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.