After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from De La Salle University in the Philippines, Edita Dungca worked in banking for four years, but very soon realized that her passion resided elsewhere.
Nursing in her genes
“My mother is a nurse, and when I was younger I went in a different direction,” says Edita. “Eventually, I realized that it is in my blood to take care of people and serve the community.” The wife of a Retired Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, Edita stepped away from the workforce for a time to raise the couple’s three children, and in 1995, earned the Licensed Practical Nurse certification, followed by the Associate Degree of Nursing in 1997. When her husband was stationed at Air Force bases in Japan and Germany, she worked in a range of non-healthcare roles, eventually moving into medical-surgical, obstetrics and neonatal intensive care for Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
Earning the BSN, joining the U.S. Air Force
While living in Florida, Edita earned the BSN at the University of West Florida, graduating in 2008. Inspired by her husband, who retired from the Air Force before she earned her degree, Edita enlisted right as she graduated. She continued her work with critically ill infants and earned her certification in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nursing. Edita worked as a charge nurse in the neonatal intensive care units in Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Foster Naval Hospital in Japan and at Langley Hospital in Virginia. “It’s such a fulfilling job to work with critically ill newborns,” she says.
Her time in the Air Force encouraged Edita to continue to improve her skill set, and in 2013, she decided that the MSN was her next step. “I’m the type of person who craves education,” she says. In her research, she came across American Sentinel University and knew that the program and the institution were a good fit. “This school is very compatible with my work and family life. My military career is important, so I needed to attend a school that values that and understands it.”
A life change
In 2011, Edita’s mother in Florida was diagnosed with cancer. To be there for her while continuing on with her work and schooling, she transferred with the Air Force to Hurlburt Field, Florida. Edita became a clinical nurse in flight medicine. “I’m so very appreciative of the Air Force for supporting me through such a challenging time and bringing me back to Florida to be with my mom,” says Edita. “My husband served for 21 years and I honestly believe I’ll serve until they tell me to retire! I’m so grateful of the opportunities we’ve had.”
A grand finish
Edita finished her MSN in March 2016 with a nursing education specialization. Thanks to her family and Air Force support system as well as unending encouragement from her student success advisor at American Sentinel, Devon Putnam, she’s been able to achieve a 4.0 GPA—while continuing to work full time.
Admittedly, Edita is likely not quite finished pursuing further education. “The next step for me is a nurse practitioner doctorate degree after I take a short break,” she says. Her American Sentinel degree has prepared her for the next chapter. “I really gained a lot from the course discussions and the capstone project, which was very applicable to what I do and today’s healthcare environment. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn in a doctoral program.”
Inspired by Edita’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.