“I haven’t encountered a career that offers the diversity and mobility that nursing does,” says Eric DeLaBruere, BSN student at American Sentinel University.
At the age of 18, Eric found himself in a two-year nursing program at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee. After graduating, he joined Maury Regional Medical Center, where he has worked in various roles and departments for 26 years. “Nursing has offered me a lot of opportunities to try new things. This is a career where you can fly a helicopter or sit behind a desk, and just about anything in between.”
Building a career
Maury Regional was a good fit from the start, and Eric decided to build his career there. Early on, he moved into dialysis, where he stayed for 14 years. When an opening came about in the cardiac catheterization lab in 2009, Eric applied and got the job. He’s been there ever since, working hard to prove himself as a leader and make a positive impact. “My team has the best dynamic,” Eric says. His feelings about his department are similar to those about the hospital in general. “I think many facilities become short sighted, but this organization believes in hiring nurses who are the right fit. That translates into happier employees and better patient care.”
Nudged toward further education
When the director of Eric’s department suggested that he consider further education, her intentions were to ensure he would always have job security. “If we were to ever get purchased by a larger organization, not having a BSN could hurt me,” he says. On the recommendation of Maury Regional, an educational partner of American Sentinel, he explored the university’s BSN program and was pleased by what he found—especially after a less-than-positive experience at a bricks-and-mortar university where he started the BSN. With excitement and a little trepidation, Eric enrolled in October 2015.
One year into the program, Eric says the BSN has benefitted him more than he expected. “I feel like I have a better understanding of the big picture and how to deal with patients on a deeper level,” he says. “The critical thinking aspect and the ability to take what I’m learning and apply it to change projects at work has been great.”
A solid system of support
A married father of three, life outside of work and school is very busy—the reason that Eric didn’t consider pursuing a BSN until now (his youngest is 12). “Time with my kids is important to me,” he says. “Now that I’m doing this, they’re very proud of me, which pushes me along.” Outside of his family, Eric says he has enjoyed great support from the five colleagues at work with whom he’s going through the BSN—three of whom he convinced to join him on his journey—and his American Sentinel student success advisor, Carmen. “It makes a difference to have that kind of support. My coworkers and I lean on each other all the time.”
Ready to seize opportunities
Eric says earning the BSN is a personal goal more than a stepping stone to a new job. He plans to graduate in early 2018. Still, he is excited about the doors that having the degree could open. “I enjoy teaching others in my job and I like to make positive changes in people’s lives,” he says. “I think earning the BSN will help me do that even more than I do today.”
Inspired by Eric’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.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.