From Manager to Director: Michigan Nurse Seizes Opportunity with MSN

From Manager to Director: Michigan Nurse Seizes Opportunity with MSN

For Amanda Fox, job security was the aspect of nursing that appealed to her most when she pursued the BSN after high school. But as time went on, she developed a passion for patient care and helping others. Amanda started her nursing career in the operating room in surgical services for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, her home town. Eventually, she moved up to become a service line coordinator and a team lead.

Motivated to pursue advanced education

For a few years, Amanda focused on raising her children while working in a staff nurse position, but when she decided to return to a more full-time schedule, her timing couldn’t have been better. “I had this amazing opportunity to help open a new facility, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a Spectrum Health organization,” says Amanda. She started as a nurse manager of surgical services in 2010 and loved the job from the start.

Soon, career advancement was on Amanda’s mind. “I recognized that I couldn’t further my career unless I pursued a more advanced degree,” Amanda says. She started to research MSN programs and attended an education fair hosted by Spectrum, where American Sentinel University was presenting. “American Sentinel’s MSN seemed like the program for me. The flexibility to set my own pace was really appealing as was the fact that my organization partners with American Sentinel for employee tuition reimbursement.” Amanda started the MSN, nursing management and organizational leadership, in September 2013.

When opportunity knocked

In spring 2015, a director job opened up at Helen DeVos—a position for which Amanda thought she could be a candidate if she was close to completing her MSN. “I’d been clipping along a class at a time, but this job was exactly what I was hoping for,” she says. She contacted her student success advisor and expressed a desire to fast-track the last part of her MSN program. “Sara Moulton talked me through what it would take for me to double up classes and still maintain my family life, and she helped me develop a course plan that would allow me to complete my degree by October 2015. That personal care and attention meant so much to me.”

In July, Amanda applied for the director position, communicating to the hiring VP of nursing that she was working hard to achieve her MSN as soon as possible. “She was impressed that I was taking two classes per term so I could be considered for the job,” Amanda says. Her diligence and dedication paid off. Amanda was hired for the job, and will transition to the director of ambulatory services role once she graduates in October. She oversees surgical services, the ER, sedation, trauma and dialysis.

“It’s really everything I could have dreamed of: I get to continue to be a part of surgical services, an area that has become such a part of me, and take on other areas that I’m not as familiar with.”

Thanks to American Sentinel University

Now that she has landed her dream job, Amanda says she is confident that the MSN is what helped her get where she is. Not only that, Amanda feels prepared for whatever comes next. “I’ve learned more in the last two years than I ever imagined I would,” she says. “The MSN has developed me tremendously. I have a more global view now, and a deeper understanding of the many areas of nursing that I need in this new job—plus the skills to do more in my career.


Inspired by Amanda’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing management and organizational leadershipinformatics, 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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