Virginia ICU Nurse Earns BSN to Better Herself and Her Future

Virginia ICU Nurse Earns BSN to Better Herself and Her Future

For 25 years, Sharon Marrow’s passion has been working in the intensive care unit.

“The ICU is so challenging and so rewarding,” says Sharon, who has worked for the Sentara Careplex Hospital in Hampton, Virginia, since 1985. “To me, the greatest feeling in the world is helping a patient who is very sick recover. Being able to bring patients back to health is one of the reasons I love nursing.

A lifelong resident of Hampton, Sharon followed in the footsteps of her aunt, who worked as a nurse when she was growing up. She completed the Registered Nurse program at Riverside Hospital School of Professional Nursing in 1977 and started out at Whittaker Memorial Hospital before joining Sentara. She always loved her job, but yearned for more education. “It was always something I wanted to do, but I waited until the time was right,” she says.

Influenced by a patient

As the years went on, the idea of school became even more important—and Sharon knew that with the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to increase the proportion of baccalaureate-prepared nurses to 80% by the year 2020, there was no time like the present. Surprisingly, it was a patient who first told her about American Sentinel University. “She’d just completed a master’s program at American Sentinel University, and raved about the great support for students,” she says. At 55 years old, the idea of returning to college was intimidating, but Sharon jotted down the university’s name on a piece of paper.

A year and a half later, Sharon was completing an application for admission. “There were a lot of reasons why American Sentinel grabbed me, and an important one was that it was economically feasible,” she says. Sharon also liked the people with whom she interacted throughout the application and admissions process. “The entire staff seems totally focused on the students, and that was really great.” In January 2015, Sharon started the BSN at American Sentinel.

Starting off on the right foot

To say Sharon is enthusiastic about her education is an understatement. “I absolutely love it and I’m honestly so excited about the university,” says Sharon, who currently works in the post anesthesia unit at Sentara. The flexibility and accessibility of American Sentinel fit Sharon’s life and priorities, but it is the support that stands out most. “I tell any co-workers who are also interested in a BSN or MSN to check out American Sentinel. The professors and advisors are supportive in a way that I never expected.

Opening doors for her future

In 2017, Sharon will graduate from American Sentinel at the age of 59. “I could see moving into management, and I can also envision myself working part time when I’m semi-retired,” she says. Either way, the pursuit of the BSN has been worth it. “This has been the best thing to happen to me in a long time. It gives me an outlet to expend my energy and learn something new.”


Inspired by Sharon’s story? A BSN is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of nursing and 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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