RN applies MSN coursework to her job, improves operational effectiveness

Kathy Edwards, an RN and quality advisor for a 140-bed hospital in Northern Utah, had wanted to earn an MSN degree since the early 1990s. But a divorce, being a single mother with three boys, and having to maintain her home by herself quashed that dream.

Now, at age 51, Kathy’s finally on the road to accomplishing her goal – and helping her hospital operate more effectively to boot.

Thanks to the knowledge she’s gaining in an RN to MSN program, Kathy is able to blend her clinical experience with healthcare business expertise. She’s becoming an increasingly reliable facilitator of clear communication between the administration, physicians, nurses and patients.

Crossing the barriers of science and business
Kathy realized that learning the business side of healthcare would broaden her capability to help operations run more smoothly. “What I’m learning in my courses is how to provide clinical knowledge to leadership when they make decisions,” Kathy said.

“I’m learning things like core measures and the reasoning behind why we have to do certain things in a certain way. I’m learning what goes on behind the scenes in healthcare leadership, which is something clinicians are not as familiar with,” she said.

Earning respect from physicians and administrators
As Kathy began to apply her coursework to the job, she discovered something that wasn’t always evident in her past experience as a nurse: respect.

“I’ve worked with physicians for so many years, but now I find I’m less timid, and I operate at a different level with them. They take my input and don’t question it.” In fact, she’s now running committee meetings with physicians, organizing meetings for root cause analysis, and serving as a sounding board for nurses and patients.

Kathy’s ability to understand the varying perspectives within her organization has given her credibility. It’s made her an integral part of the team.

Providing a good life for a family
Kathy never gave up on her dream of a Master’s degree. “I’ve been able to support three children and a house, and take care of my responsibilities, and I’m proud of that,” she said, “but returning to school is a goal I set for myself years ago. I’m 51, and I just said, ‘I can do it!’”

Kathy chose American Sentinel University’s CCNE-accredited RN to MSN online program because she wanted to retain control of her schedule. She can do her coursework whenever and wherever it’s convenient for her.

“With business and clinical knowledge together, a nurse can help a hospital by offering insights, experience and comprehension of all the reports,” Kathy said. “Plus, it’s a safe job and a good way to raise a family.”

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