Lane Meltzer earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at the University of the East in the Philippines before she came to the United States in 1985, but decided to pursue nursing when she arrived in Pennsylvania. “There was an influx of nurses during that time, so it was difficult to get into hospitals,” says Lane, who had earned her nursing diploma at Episcopal Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia. She got a foot in the door at Integrated Health Services of Plymouth (now Whitemarsh Behavioral Health Care), where she stayed for six years, working her way up to nursing supervisor.
A goal to further her education
While working at Integrated Health, Lane started an RN to BSN program at Temple University, but became pregnant with her daughter and had to set the endeavor aside. Still, it was always a goal to further her education. Later that year, she took a job closer to home at Holy Redeemer Hospital in the transitional care unit.
Twelve years went by and Lane still wanted to pursue her BSN, but between work and her family commitments, she hadn’t been able to take the plunge. “My supervisor approached me and said, ‘I know you’ve wanted to pursue education; let’s make this happen’,” Lane recalls. Knowing that her schedule would best fit with online learning, she researched her options and found American Sentinel. “When I compared American Sentinel to other universities, it totally fit what I was looking for.”
Onward and upward
Lane worked hard and graduated with the BSN in 2014. “I was really impressed with the support I received at American Sentinel, from the advisors and the professors,” says Lane. The experience was so positive, in fact, that Lane decided to continue on for her MSN. “Holy Redeemer is very supportive of me with tuition reimbursement and my director pushing me to get my BSN in the first place. I figured I might as well keep onward. The BSN is an entry point to nursing now, but to gain a competitive edge, you really need a master’s.”
As she got into the MSN, Lane decided to pursue the case management specialization because it is a growing field. “Today, with the many changes in the industry, we’re seeing more patients going home and receiving care there,” she says. “It is important to me that we make that transition from hospital to home a good one.”
At Holy Redeemer—where Lane has worked on the rehabilitation unit for 17 years—Lane hopes to one day have the opportunity to work in case management. “Holy Redeemer’s mission is aligned to what I believe in as a nurse,” says Lane, whose experience there and as a per diem nurse at hospitals such as Temple University, Einstein and Roxborough spans medical-surgical, psychiatry, orthopedic, hospice, long-term care and critical care. “Patients are the highest priority.” Lane is one of about ten American Sentinel students or recent alumni working at the hospital.
Celebrating her success
In May 2016, Lane completed her MSN, case management specialization. She traveled to Denver one month later to celebrate with her classmates and professors. “It is a really great feeling to see the people who have been cheering you on and to congratulate one another for finally getting there,” she says, adding that she intends to pursue certification in case management later this year.
Her other cheerleaders were her family members—her daughter, who will graduate with her bachelor’s in public relations from the University of Texas in December 2016, her husband, who encouraged her to keep going when things became difficult, and her siblings, nieces and nephews, several of whom work in healthcare as well. “I’m proud to have gotten here,” Lane says. “I know that these degrees will enhance my nursing career in the future.”
Inspired by Lane’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like case management, nursing management and organizational leadership, nursing education, or informatics. 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.