As a young girl, Cindy Mohardt wanted to become a teacher, but when her mother was diagnosed with melanoma, that all changed.
“My mom saw a nurse practitioner throughout that process, and I remember at age 12 being so impressed,” says Cindy. “The nurse was smart and had this job that changed people’s lives.” The experience steered her toward healthcare, and when she graduated high school, she attended the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland, near where she grew up. She earned the ADN in 1996.
Building her clinical experience
Cindy started her nursing career at Northwest Hospital, a community hospital outside of Baltimore, but soon moved to the renowned University of Maryland Medical Center, where she became a charge nurse and nurse preceptor. When she met and married her husband, the couple bought a house in Damascus and Cindy took a job at Shady Grove Medical Center, an Adventist HealthCare hospital, in 2000. She has been there ever since.
“I started as a float pool nurse, working all over the hospital, but mainly in medical/surgical,” says Cindy. Today, she is an education specialist for the medical/surgical services area, which covers six units. “I love it here. It’s like working with your family and I have such great support.”
Pulled to education
For many years at Shady Grove, Cindy was part of the float pool. Raising her two kids, she says, was her first priority. “I honestly thought for years about going back for my BSN, but life was busy and it just wasn’t possible,” she says. When Cindy became an educator in 2013, teaching new and experienced nurses, she decided the time was right. “My job was not in jeopardy, but I knew that I couldn’t get my same job today without the BSN. I also felt that as an educator, it was important to pursue this. I have a lot of clinical experience, but the educational credential is important too.”
Discovering American Sentinel
Cindy started searching for the right BSN program and was referred to American Sentinel University by a colleague who was also in the program. “I considered the University of Maryland as well, but American Sentinel’s program seemed like it had a lot of advantages,” she says. “I loved the support and I appreciate that the university gets that its students have many competing priorities in their lives.” Cindy enrolled at American Sentinel in January 2014. And when Shady Grove’s new chief nursing officer moved forward a few months later on a mandate that all nurses for the organization hold BSN degrees, she knew she had made the right decision.
Making it happen
With the support of her husband and children, Cindy did what it took to get her school work done. “My kids are very active with sports, so I can’t tell you how many assignments I completed in my car with my phone’s wireless hotspot on!” she says. “It’s not easy, but it can be done.” Cindy completed the program in August 2016.
With the BSN now under her belt, Cindy feels secure in her future—although she has no plans to leave Shady Grove. “The people at Shady Grove are like family to me,” she says. “They provided me the opportunity to earn my BSN by granting me a scholarship and supported me along the way.” Cindy says that her education will not only open doors of future opportunity to her, but also help her grow professionally in her current role. “The BSN has helped me look at nursing from a leadership perspective and I feel I could pursue other leadership roles. It’s nice to know that if I decide to try other roles, I have the education to do so.”
Inspired by Cindy’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.