After serving four years active duty in the Army and two years in the National Guard, Warren earned his associate degree in nursing in 1990. “My mom was a nursing assistant her entire career, so I was drawn to it,” says Warren. “I took a health sciences class, and a couple of professors told me I had a knack for it.” In 2006, Warren earned his BSN, but he always had his sights set on an MSN.
In 2008, Warren decided it was time to earn his master’s degree. “It was a personal goal to get a master’s, but I also knew it was a way to expand future opportunities and gain new knowledge,” says Warren. “I wanted to advance my career beyond bedside nursing.”
As a busy father of two and a manager of several departments, Warren had a specific list of needs as he researched the right university. He needed an affordable, flexible online format and a program that offered the types of courses he wanted—specifically an informatics nursing degree, which blended his health care background and previous IT knowledge.
“Five minutes after I submitted my information to American Sentinel, I got a call from the VP of military programs, Paul Capicik. He told me about military education benefit and support for veterans, and it was pretty clear—American Sentinel met all of my criteria.”
Managing an Overflowing Plate
Warren admits it was a challenge juggling school and his life responsibilities. His kids were six- and eight-years-old when he started the program. Plus, he lives an hour from work, where he is the manager of the clinical improvement department. On the weekends he is an emergency room nurse, something he continues to do because he’s “an ER junkie” who enjoys continuing to have patient contact. And on top of it all, Warren continued to manage his lawn-mowing business on the weekends.
“If I can do it, anybody can do it,” laughs Warren. “If you are dedicated and strong, the support from American Sentinel is there. Staying connected with other students helped a lot, too. I made some good online friends.”
Navigating a Bright Future
Warren graduated in 2011 from American Sentinel with an online MSN, informatics specialization—and the degree has already helped him make an impact at the hospital where he works. [programpush poi=”RNMSN”]
“My department’s job is to improve our processes so we can improve the quality, efficiency and affordability of our health care,” says Warren. “Informatics is a big part of what I do, so those courses helped me a lot. I think I’ve become a more well-rounded leader. And I definitely chose the right program for me and my area of health care.”
Whether he eventually moves into a more informatics-focused role or takes on additional IT responsibilities, one thing is certain: Warren feels prepared to succeed in the evolving health care industry. “Health care is changing a lot, and we have to run our organization like a business, whether we like it or not,” he says. “The tools I learned from American Sentinel will help me be more marketable as a nurse and a health care professional.”