Many nurses pursue the MSN as they plot the next stage of their careers, and Nancy Seebert is no different. The one distinction? Nancy has been a nurse for 48 years.
Nursing, she admits, is a part of who she is. “I started working in hospitals in Boston, where I grew up, when I was 13 years old,” says Nancy, a BSN graduate of Boston University. Having now lived in Oregon for almost 40 years, Nancy has just about done it all in her career—from working in the intensive care unit to supervising clinical operations to working as an assistant director of home hospice and home infusion. In 2000, she earned a master’s in business communication, which led her to organizational and workforce development. She spent 11 years with Providence Health and Services, the third largest not-for-profit in the United states. There, she got into employee and leadership development. Nancy moved to Legacy Health System in 2009.
Testing the retirement waters
In 2011, Nancy retired as Legacy’s clinical documentation specialist—but retirement didn’t suit her. “That lasted about seven months,” she laughs. She started taking care of her new granddaughter a couple days a week, but also realized that she wasn’t ready to stop working entirely. “I was ready for the next phase in my life.” Nancy warmed to the idea of teaching and got a foot in the door at Carrington College in Portland. She became a nursing instructor in the LPN program and discovered a newfound passion. When Carrington closed its doors in 2014, Nancy joined ITT Technical Institute’s Breckinridge School of Nursing as an adjunct faculty member.
Eyeing the MSN
In February 2016, Nancy joined Linfield College School of Nursing as an adjunct faculty member in the BSN and RN programs. “I had grown to accept that I would need an MSN to get a full-time teaching position at Linfield, which I absolutely love,” she says. With the support of her husband of 44 years and her Linfield supervisor, she set about finding the right program and discovered American Sentinel University. “My first master’s degree was online so I was familiar with the learning environment,” she says. “Cost was a major consideration, and I was also impressed with the university from the moment I made my first phone call.”
Nancy started the MSN, nursing education specialization, in June 2016. She’s enjoying the program so much—and is so eager to complete it—that she is taking two or three courses per eight-week term so that she can finish by May 2017 and attend graduation in June. “I’m putting everything I have into this,” she says. “For some reason I’m extremely motivated to do the best I possibly can. I’m working very hard, but honestly, it’s a lot of fun. I love it so far.”
Fulfilling a dream
Admittedly, Nancy is getting used to the surprised reactions when she tells people she is earning an MSN at this stage in her career. She says her rationale is simple. “I’m doing this because I want to,” she says. “It’s a goal of mine to teach at a higher level. I have a drive to learn so that I can help my own students grow and fulfill their potential as they start their nursing careers.” She is especially grateful to her colleagues at Linfield, who have cheered her on and selflessly offered their help and advice as she works toward the finish line.
Already, Nancy is learning a great deal from her MSN classes that she immediately applies in her own teaching. “I love sharing my experiences and knowledge with students,” she says. “Seeing them grow and become enthusiastic about their futures is why I’m enjoying it there so much.”
Inspired by Nancy’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.