Patti and Haley Winward are about as close as a mother and daughter can get.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who has a relationship with their mom like my sister and I have with ours,” laughs Haley. “My mom and I do everything together.” That’s not an understatement. In addition to living together on their horse farm in Frankford, Delaware, the women both work for Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, Delaware. Haley is an administrative assistant for Beebe’s Delmarva Health Network and the Beebe marketing and communications department, while Patti is a utilization review nurse.
A fruitful nursing career
A West Virginia native who came to Delaware on vacation the summer after graduating high school, met her future husband, and never left, Patti made the smart decision to join one of Delaware’s leading industries. She earned her LPN in 1990 and spent 10 years in that role.
“I tried a bunch of different areas to find my niche and discovered that my true calling was working with the geriatric population,” Patti says. In 2000, she earned the Registered Nurse/Associate of Applied Science and continued her career working in hospice and palliative care. She was recruited in 2012 to United Healthcare as a manager of case management followed by a Blue Cross Blue Shield startup, Highmark Health Options, as a case management supervisor. Patti stepped into the area of utilization review in 2016 when she joined Beebe.
Inspired by Mom
Admittedly, Haley was influenced by her mother’s career path when she headed off to Bridgewater College in Virginia. “Growing up, I watched my mom grow within companies and help them become successful,” she says. “I admired her for that and knew it would take a lot of education to follow a similar path in today’s world.” Although she considered pursuing veterinary sciences as well as nursing, ultimately Haley ended up with a Bachelor of Science in health and exercise science, a minor in nutrition and wellness. She started at Beebe in March 2016. Since the middle of her undergraduate education, Haley knew that a master’s degree was in her future.
Teaming up for education
For years, Patti had thought about getting her BSN, but as a busy nurse and mother, the timing was never quite right. Fortunately, having the associate degree never held her back. “A job opportunity would come along and I would say, ‘School can wait,’ and I was able to move up into new roles without it,” she says.
When she joined Beebe Healthcare, two women in her department were attending American Sentinel University—one pursuing the MSN, the other the BSN. “I have the years of experience and a lot of education on the job, but I really never felt adequate supervising employees with master’s degrees,” Patti says. Influenced by her coworkers, she checked out American Sentinel and liked the curricula and the structure. Thinking of Haley too, she learned that the university also offered an MBA Healthcare.
Together, like always
Patti told Haley about her plan to pursue her BSN—and suggested that her youngest daughter take a class alongside her. Together, mother and daughter enrolled in their first classes in November 2016. “What makes American Sentinel unique is that most of its students are full-time professionals,” Haley says. “The programs feel like they’re geared specifically to you, and American Sentinel makes you feel like you can do it. That’s what impressed me.” Though she’s just beginning her career, Haley has her sights set high for her future. One day, she hopes to become a director over a department related to her bachelor’s education.
Patti adds that the enhanced clinical and healthcare industry knowledge will benefit both her and Haley. “I’ve already learned so much,” Patti says, adding that she intends to continue on for the MSN after completing the BSN in 2018. “With the changing landscape in healthcare, education is essential or you’ll be left behind. I never want to be someone whose opportunities run out because I don’t have the education on my resume. Honestly, I’m just kicking myself for not doing this sooner.”
For Haley, however, the timing couldn’t be better—for both her and her mom. “I think the best thing about my mom doing this now is that she has so much nursing experience, yet healthcare has changed dramatically in the last 10 years,” she says. “If she had gone back to school 15 years ago, that education probably would feel antiquated to her now.”
And of course, Haley and Patti say it is an incomparable experience to pursue such an important professional goal at the same time. “My mom has always been my best friend,” Haley says, adding that her entire family—Haley and her mother, father, and sister—have always been close. “Doing this together means a lot and has made a big difference for us both. You need a support system when you’re in school, and I have that with my mom.”
Inspired by the Winwards’ story? A BSN is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. An MBA Healthcare is perfect for healthcare professionals seeking to lead in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry. 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.