Throughout her childhood, Cynthia Guevara was told by her mother that she would make a great nurse one day. “It seeped into my mind, so I started believing it too,” says Cynthia, who was born and raised in the Philippines. So, when the time came for higher education, she followed that very path, earning a BSN at Saint Paul University in 1999. She began her career in medical-surgical nursing and pediatrics.
After passing her boards, Cynthia and her husband moved to North Carolina. She joined Southeastern Regional Medical Center—now Southeastern Health—working on the surgical unit for almost 11 years, first as a staff nurse and for four years as a shift supervisor. Cynthia also worked part time at a brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation center for a few years.
A move to Texas
A desire for a new adventure and a job opportunity in San Antonio brought Cynthia to Texas in 2014. She joined the San Antonio Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, part of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. Her patients include those with severe, traumatic brain injuries coming straight from the intensive care unit. “I’ve never worked in brain trauma before, so it’s a great chance to learn and do something entirely different,” Cynthia says. “We’re happy we made the move.”
As she uprooted her life, Cynthia began thinking about the next stage of her career. “Before this position, I did a little work with electronic medical records and found myself very interested in it,” she says. “Thinking ahead, I don’t want to work at the bedside forever. Informatics is an area with a lot of opportunity that really interests me.”
Discovering American Sentinel
Cynthia asked coworkers about MSN programs in nursing informatics and learned about American Sentinel University. “I really liked what I learned,” she says. “It was the most affordable program I found, which was great, but I also really liked the curriculum and the way I was treated by the admissions people.” In October 2014—just a few months after making her cross-country move—Cynthia enrolled in the MSN, nursing informatics specialization, at American Sentinel.
“Online learning was totally new to me, but as I became used to it, I really learned to enjoy it,” Cynthia adds. “I’m a busy mother who works a full-time job and another part-time job. The convenience of being able to go to school on your own time is great. Every class I completed was even better than the one before.”
A new job, a new adventure
This month, as she gears up to walk in American Sentinel’s commencement ceremony in Denver, Cynthia has started a new job as a bed control coordinator—still within the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. “The job is to act as a liaison between patients and all healthcare providers they see across the VA system,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to it. I definitely think the master’s degree helped me get the job. I also think it will help me move into roles where I’m dealing with data and information on a daily basis.”
With just one class to complete for her MSN, Cynthia says her American Sentinel experience has been everything she hoped it would be. “It’s been a really positive experience,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot and found the program to be interesting the entire time. Plus, it’s great to know that my education will benefit my future career.”
Inspired by Cynthia’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.