In the 30 years since Dinnah San Pedro has been a nurse, much has changed. An interventional radiology nurse by education and training, the last decade especially brought Dinnah to the realization that her ADN degree was now obsolete.
“Healthcare reform and all of the technological changes that the healthcare industry has seen have changed everything,” says Dinnah, a native of the Philippines who moved to Sacramento, California, after graduating from Norfolk State University in 1981. “I wanted to be able to answer my patients’ questions, provide them the most recent, up-to-date information and give them the best and safest patient care possible.”
Nudged to get the BSN
An interventional radiology RN at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Sacramento since 1989 (and at the same organization since 1986), Dinnah was encouraged by her manager to consider a BSN—and she recommended American Sentinel University, where she too was a student. In her early 50s, Dinnah says she certainly had some fear about returning to college after so many years, but that anxiety quickly diminished after enrolling at American Sentinel in 2011. “It was not easy, and online learning was new to me, but American Sentinel offers a very supportive environment,” she says. “The university has great teachers and advisors who want you to succeed.”
In 2012, Dinnah completed the BSN. Eight months later, she decided to continue on for an MSN. “I realized I wasn’t done!” she admits. “It’s been a personal goal of mine to enhance my education for a very long time,” she says. Dinnah chose the nursing informatics specialization. “With my vast experience in nursing amid the transformation of healthcare, I felt I could contribute to the advancement of the profession.”
Eye on the prize
Working full time and going to school has had its challenges, but Dinnah has been cheered on by her family every step of the way. Her commitment to education has certainly rubbed off on her three children—two have graduated college and the third is a successful project engineer for an electrical company in Los Angeles.
Dinnah’s husband, her “soulmate and partner,” publishes a Filipino community newspaper, Philippine Fiesta, which the couple has produced for Sacramento and surrounding areas since 2002. “He has kept things going at home, made dinner every night for the last four years, attended community events and taken the lead on the newspaper,” she says. “I couldn’t have done this without his support.”
The “culmination of a journey”
Dinnah completed her last class of the MSN in March 2016. The entire family will travel to Denver in June to attend her graduation ceremony. At work, she has raised her hand to get involved in new ways within Kaiser, and is now a member of the professional performance committee, which addresses patient safety and other issues. She is also involved with several Filipino-American community organizations in Sacramento and continues to support her children in their own endeavors—one has established a nonprofit organization for children who want to pursue dance.
As for what is next, Dinnah wants to continue to find ways to lead. “I now feel I’m current and relevant in this era of healthcare,” she says. “More than anything, I’m very grateful for and satisfied about what I’ve accomplished. And I want to be an inspiration to others who have similar goals in their nursing careers.”
Inspired by Dinnah’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.