Earning the BSN at American Sentinel University hasn’t been an easy road, admits Jason Ringlehan.
In 2012, the U.S. Army Captain and Reservist decided to pursue the bachelor’s degree when he got a job in the emergency room at Malcolm Randall Veteran’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. “I’d been a charge nurse and run an ER, but Malcolm Randall encouraged me to get the BSN to continue to progress in my career,” Jason says. Two of his co-workers were students at American Sentinel. “They recommended the program and I thought it looked great. As an online program, I knew I’d also appreciate the flexibility.”
Specifically, Jason needed the ability to take classes from anywhere in the world. In 2012, he was deployed to Afghanistan, serving as Commander of a Forward Surgical Team. It was his fourth time overseas and second time to Afghanistan. “When you’re in Afghanistan, there are periods you’re working 72 hours straight and others when you have downtime,” he says. “With American Sentinel’s structure, I could work ahead when I had the time.”
Bolstering his experience, securing a future
A New York native and third-generation U.S. military member, Jason first became interested in healthcare when he shattered his ankle while serving in airborne operations for the Special Warfare Center out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He became a Registered Nurse in Florida in 2001, got a job in the emergency department at Central Florida Regional Hospital, and later, in the operating room at Shands at the University of Florida, a Level 1 trauma center. In 2006, Jason returned to the Army as a perioperative nurse, based at Fort Gillem, Georgia.
Continuing to pursue his higher education goal
After a serious neck injury caused Jason to return from Afghanistan in 2013, he didn’t give up on school, easy as it would’ve been. “There have been times I’ve had to slow down or take breaks, and American Sentinel has been fantastic about it,” says Jason, who celebrates four years of marriage and his son’s fourth birthday this year. “Being overseas, there are challenges as a student that you wouldn’t face here in the U.S. If I can do this from the deepest, darkest hold in Afghanistan, anyone can.” Jason is in his final class at American Sentinel, and will complete the BSN in June 2016.
Today, Jason is receiving care at Fort Stewart’s Warrior Transition Battalion Unit and volunteering at his old employer, Malcolm Randall Veteran’s Hospital. When he heals and finishes the BSN, he hopes to move into a leadership position, hopefully at Malcolm Randall once again, where his wife also works as the veteran’s health education coordinator.
“I absolutely feel I’ve learned a lot in this program, especially about issues that pertain to public health and how to integrate research into my own nursing practice,” Jason says, adding that an MSN one day is not out of the question. “ I hear great things about American Sentinel’s MSN, nursing leadership specialization, so I’m definitely considering it for the future.”
Inspired by Jason’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.