“I know with a master’s degree, I can go further,” says Diane Kittle, an RN educator in care management and case manager for the Mayo Clinic Hospital.
Having worked her way up in many different types of areas of nursing (and specifically in case management)—from oncology to labor and delivery, from hospice care to public health—Diane also spent part of her career working with the members of the United States Air Force, which her husband joined in 1999. The military brought her family to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in 2007. She joined the military insurance company, Tricare, and later worked at the medical clinic at Luke. In 2011, Diane joined Mayo Clinic, where she does inpatient case management and helps educate new staff.
Influenced by a Coworker
After 34 years in nursing and earning certifications along the way—Hospice and Palliative Care and Certified Case Manager—Diane is pleased with how her career has unfolded. Yet, the ability to move into different areas was important to her—and furthering her credentials with a degree seemed a smart investment.
“I had a director who encouraged me to go back to school and a coworker at Mayo who had earned the BSN at American Sentinel and said great things about the university,” she says. “The tuition was affordable, especially with the discount for military spouses. That’s really what convinced me.”
Diane started the RN to MSN program, case management specialization, in May 2013 and she hasn’t looked back. “This was the first time in my life I was in a place where I could do this—being settled somewhere and having my kids grown up,” she says. “And with American Sentinel, I can do school wherever I am as long as I have internet access.”
Ample, Unwavering Support
Family support has helped Diane make her dream a reality. She raised three sons and sent all three to college—before she went herself. “Now, they always say, ‘Mom, this is your time now,’” she says. Her husband, too, is constantly telling her to get her homework done and keep her eye on her big goal.
At American Sentinel, she has never lacked for resources to help her get where she wants to go, such as online tutoring and the writing center, and her professors and student success advisor, Julie Alexander, have had her back the entire time. “Julie has been the best part of American Sentinel,” says Diane. “I feel like this is the university to go to if you want support. It’s been wonderful.”
Securing Her Future
Diane says that her education has already helped her in her current role at Mayo. “I work with managers and directors, and now I can speak their same language,” she says. Wherever she goes next in her career, Diane feels that her MSN, case management will give her the tools to succeed. “There are so many branches of case management and I know that this is a great way to better understand them all and do right by the patients, no matter where I go.”
When she finishes the program in summer 2015, Diane says her degree will be hard earned. “It’s been challenging and a great combination of nursing content that I know and a lot of things I don’t know, but I’ve never doubted that I can do it,” she says. “I apply what I’m learning in class to what I’m doing at work, and it’s made a big difference in my mindset and how I’m learning. I know I can move up in my career with this degree, and that’s made it worth it.”
Inspired by Diane’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like case management, informatics, or infection control. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of these nursing fields. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including an RN to BSN program and advanced degree programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection control, and executive leadership.