From a young age, Barbara Eady felt nursing was her calling. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, from the first time I stepped into a hospital,” says Barbara, who grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. Straight out of high school, she married and started her family, but eventually Barbara took the leap to go to night school at her local community college. She earned the Associate of Science in Nursing in 2004 and started her career in the cardiac unit of Mercy Hospital.
Finding her passion
In 2005, Barbara took a job in the Emergency Center at McLaren Port Huron, a 186-bed not-for-profit hospital. “I discovered what I love,” she says. “In the Emergency Center, you never know who will walk through the door and you need to be prepared for the worst. I love the pace and the fact that you can make such a huge difference in the lives of patients.” In 2013, Barbara earned a promotion to night shift supervisor of emergency services.
Encouraged to augment her skills with a BSN
As Barbara’s children grew older, she thought about pursuing further education – but it was the encouragement of a director at McLaren Port Huron that convinced her the timing was right. “My director was an American Sentinel student as well, and suggested I look into the university,” she says.
After her own due diligence process, Barbara enrolled in the BSN program at American Sentinel University in 2013. As luck would have it, a management position opened up at McLaren Port Huron just as she was finishing the program in early 2014. Her years of experience in the department, supervisor background, and BSN made her a great candidate – and Barbara got the job in March 2014. She is now the manager of emergency services and the observation unit. “I love my job,” she says. “I’ve been at this hospital for twelve years and never once have I woken up unexcited to go to work.“
On to the MSN
Barbara says that American Sentinel works around her schedule. “When I started the BSN I was working night shifts and going to my teens’ sporting activities all the time,” she says. “I like that there is flexibility to do my school work when it is convenient.” That flexibility is one reason Barb decided in Fall 2014 to continue on for an MSN, nursing management and organizational leadership specialization. “I have learned so much at American Sentinel. I decided to earn the master’s to expand my knowledge even more so I’ll be prepared if other opportunities come along.”
In Summer 2015, Barbara tragically lost her significant other, Geoff. She contemplated dropping out of school, but with her twin sister, and her children giving her strength, Barbara kept fighting. “Geoff always told me how proud of me he was, and he wouldn’t want me to give up,” she says. Another important motivator, Barbara adds is the goal she set to complete her MSN at the same time that her son graduates from high school in May 2016. It hasn’t been easy, Barbara says, but she refuses to give up. “My kids see how much I value education and how I’m working hard towards this goal, and I know it has encouraged them in their own pursuits.” Barbara’s son plans to attend college next year and pursue a career in law enforcement, while her daughter is currently taking prerequisites for nursing school.
Grateful, heartened, and focused
With just a few months to go until she graduates with her MSN, Barbara credits one more person for giving her the strength to continue: her student success advisor, Devon Putnam. “Devon has supported me every step of the way,” she says. “She helps me all the time, and it seems like something you see a lot at American Sentinel – they’re there for you. That means so much.”
Inspired by Barbara’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, 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.