Ivy Catacutan started her nursing career in the Philippines at Chinese General Hospital, rotating through the medical-surgical, telemetry and charity units. Most of her training was in the charity ward, working with indigent citizens who could not afford medical care. “I learned to be resourceful and provide strategized care and discharge to meet those patients’ needs,” says Ivy, who grew up in Pampanga, Philippines.
A Ticket to the U.S.
In 1996, Ivy decided she wanted to come to the United States. She took and passed the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) exam, and arrived in Chicago in the fall of 1996. It took time, but Ivy was eventually hired as a nursing supervisor at an assisted living facility in New Jersey, where she has family. Over the next several years, she changed companies and landed a nurse manager position in a sub-acute unit at a rehabilitation facility. There, she found her calling: case management.
A Cross-Country Move and a Big Opportunity
In 2006, Ivy and her family moved to the greater Los Angeles area, where she was hired by a long-term acute care hospital in Rancho Cucamonga. She moved into case management and nursing education and received the biggest promotion of her life in 2009: to director of case management. Two years later, her hospital was bought by Kindred Healthcare, the largest provider of post-acute care services in the country.
“I don’t know a lot of people who would say that they miss their work when they’re on vacation, but I do,” Ivy says. “Kindred is a nurturing environment, and I enjoy it so much. This company also gave me the best opportunity of my career: to earn my master’s degree.”
Finding the Best MSN Program For Her
When Kindred offered to support Ivy’s master’s education, she started her college research. “I wanted to get my MSN for professional growth and to be a better resource to my employees and peers,” she says. “Within 24 hours of contacting American Sentinel, someone was helping me identify the resources and everything I needed to apply and get enrolled.” Ivy started her RN to MSN program in 2012. After two years of hard work—and the steadfast support of her husband and two children—she graduated proudly in June 2014 with an MSN, case management specialization.
When Opportunity Knocks
For Ivy, the best part of earning the MSN is that she has the credentials to continue to move up in her career. “I love what I do, but if another opportunity knocks, I know I won’t be afraid to go for it because I have the education and skills as well as the support from my superiors at Kindred,” she says.
American Sentinel exceeded her expectations, Ivy says. “Overall, the experience was exceptional,” she says. “I’ve encouraged my peers to look at American Sentinel as well and they too have been happy. I highly recommend the school for anyone looking to further their education and career in healthcare. Thanks to my education, I’m more effective as a director and a case manager.”