In June 2017, Sybilla Ruhl attended her very first commencement ceremony.
Originally from a small village in Germany, Sybilla was previously educated there—and “cap and gown” graduation ceremonies were not the norm. “Attending my BSN graduation was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” says the longtime labor and delivery nurse, who has lived in Colorado Springs since 1992. “It meant so much to me to do it.”
Dean’s Award winner
When Sybilla first started the BSN at American Sentinel University in 2014, she never expected that just two and a half years later she would be named the winner of the prestigious Dean’s Award for the BSN program, but that’s exactly what happened. Her journey as a nurse began in the mid-1980s when she earned her nursing diploma in Germany and started her career as a staff nurse on a medical/surgical floor. After moving to the U.S. by way of Colorado, she became a Licensed Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse and started out in a long-term care facility.
A love of labor and delivery
In 1993, Sybilla got a job at Centura Health Penrose St. Francis Medical Center as a labor and delivery nurse—and she’s been there ever since. “There’s not much more rewarding and sometimes challenging than to work with expectant parents,” she says. “Although all areas of nursing require passion, labor and delivery is especially so. I like helping families.”
In 2014, not long after Penrose St. Francis was awarded Magnet designation, Sybilla was encouraged to get the BSN. It was the nudge she needed to take the leap, but something she had been thinking about for a long time. “I’ve always wanted to get my bachelor’s degree to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do this,” she says. “I was a single mom for many years and it was always in the back of my mind to do it. With my children now 29 and 32, the timing was right.”
Finding American Sentinel
The education department at Centura Health Penrose St. Francis provided Sybilla a list of universities to consider for her BSN that included American Sentinel. “American Sentinel fit all of my needs,” she says. “I appreciated the fact that they really looked carefully at my transcripts and accepted credits that other universities would not.” She enrolled in 2014 and found the experience to exceed her expectations. “I learned so much and found many of the classes to be very geared toward my experience as a nurse, which I’m sure is by design.”
A brighter future
In November 2016, Sybilla finished her BSN classes—and with flying colors, as the recipient of the 2017 Dean’s Award. She is excited about what the future holds. “I feel I’m more marketable and knowledgeable,” she says. “And to receive an award was very humbling to me. I worked hard and it wasn’t easy, but I really think anyone can do it with effort and commitment. American Sentinel is excellent and flexible, and offers great support.”
Inspired by Sybilla’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.