Cleveland Clinic Surgical ICU Nurse Discovers Love for Education, Pursues MSN

Cleveland Clinic Surgical ICU Nurse Discovers Love for Education, Pursues MSN

Gerard Beattie is admittedly a proud member of the Cleveland Clinic family. He joined the renowned medical center in 1981 and has enjoyed several milestones—he was one of seven nurses to start the clinical care air transport team in 2006 and has now worked in the surgical intensive care unit for 15 years. “I’ve had a lot of great experiences at Cleveland Clinic,” says Gerard, a native of Newport, Rhode Island.

Gerard came into the nursing profession in an unexpected way. He moved to Ohio during high school and worked in a rubber factory. Soon, however, Gerard decided to start college at Kent State University—and he was encouraged by an advisor to take a few health sciences courses. “I loved the field,” Gerard says. “I was excited about working with people and the teaching and education aspect.” He earned an A.S. in nursing in 1981. The day Gerard took his last final, he drove to the Cleveland Clinic to submit his application.

Family life his primary focus

Gerard had met his wife at Kent State and the couple married after graduation and both started nursing careers at Cleveland Clinic. Their first of four children was born in 1985. “For those years, my life was all about kids, family and my work,” he says. Although Gerard dreamed of getting his BSN—and attempted a few different distance learning programs through the years—he waited until his own children were in college to make the commitment. In 2014, Gerard received a BSN from Ohio University.

Next stop: MSN

While completing his BSN, Gerard discovered American Sentinel and liked what he learned. He made plans to start the MSN right away. “From the very first phone call with Lisa Smith, my first advisor, I felt that this was a phenomenal school with a phenomenal staff,” he says, adding that his current advisor, Carolyn Rupp, has been excellent. “American Sentinel guides you every step of the way.”

Gerard started the MSN the same year he graduated with his BSN. His goal is to teach full time. “I feel that nurse educators mold the lives of those who take care of thousands of people throughout their lifetimes,” he says. Recently, Gerard had the opportunity to teach in the RN to BSN program at Cleveland State University, which solidified his passion. “I want to help others. I think teaching is the best way I can do that.”

Applause for American Sentinel

Gerard will graduate with the MSN, nursing education specialization, in 2016. The experience has been so great that Gerard says he plans to continue on in school and earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice after finishing the MSN. “I would love to be a full-time lecturer one day, and I know that the DNP would be a great philosophical fit with my goals and experience,” he says.

Best of all, Gerard says he is applying what he learns on the job each day. “My classes are all interconnected, and I feel that the curriculum marches along eloquently, which has resulted in me learning so much more than I ever expected,” he says. “I’ve been a nurse for a long time, but I’ve learned so much about best practices in nursing education. As a teacher I’ll be able to draw on my experience as a nurse while incorporating the knowledge I’ve gained in my MSN about how new nurses learn today.”


Inspired by Gerard’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing educationinformatics, 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.


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