Growing up, Krista Cash remembers spending plenty of time tagging along with her mom to the nursing home where she was a Licensed Practical Nurse. “It rubbed off on me a lot,” recalls Krista, who was born and raised in Indiana. “I loved seeing how my mom’s patients looked at her. She was obviously working to raise her two daughters, but she wasn’t there just for the paycheck. Nursing seemed to me to be a career for those who care about people—like my mom.”
A similar path
When Krista was 17 years old, her mother became a Registered Nurse, continuing to work in nursing homes. After high school, Krista followed in her footsteps, first as a CNA at the same place where her mother worked. Eventually, Krista became an LPN for Community Health Network in Indianapolis. There, she gained experience on the medical renal oncology floor. When she became a mom herself, she laid the groundwork to become an RN. She started nursing school while pregnant with her second child, graduating with the ADN.
Launching her RN career
Laster, Krista landed a job in long-term acute care. But in early 2015, she and her new husband—also from Indiana—moved to Arizona. She was approached by a hospice care facility not long after moving and returned to her longtime passion. Krista also worked PRN for another hospice care facility before landing at St. Luke’s Medical Center, a Steward/IASIS Healthcare facility and an acute care medical center. Today, she works in the telemetry unit, where she has been since August 2015. “St. Luke’s is the best environment I’ve ever worked in,” she says. “There are so many great people here, and I love my unit and my patients.”
Encouraged to pursue further education
Before moving to Arizona, Krista took some general coursework toward a BSN. But the move to Arizona and subsequent job changes forced her to put the pursuit on the back burner. After starting at St. Luke’s, Krista decided it was time to go for it. “My manager really pushed me to earn the BSN, and I was eager to do it and show my daughters, who are now 12 and 10, how important education is,” says Krista.
Thanks to an educational partnership between IASIS Healthcare and American Sentinel University, Krista learned about the university through her boss, who was in the middle of the MSN program. She began the bachelor’s in December 2016, shortly after returning to work from maternity leave—her son was born in July 2016. Krista adds that in addition to the support of her employer and the university – her husband was her biggest cheerleader.
A year into the program, Krista says the BSN has exceeded her expectations. “The schedule is time-consuming but doable for busy nurses like me,” she says. “I’ve been very happy with the advisors, the classes, the support staff and all the resources available to students. It’s a great experience so far, and I’m looking forward to getting to the finish line.” In fact, Krista adds, if all goes as planned, she’ll complete her last class the same week as her 37th birthday next year.
Krista isn’t certain about where her career options will lead, but the one thing she is sure of is the opportunity that the BSN will afford her. “This is totally worth it,” she says. “I know that no matter what I do, whether that’s leadership or informatics or something else entirely, having a bachelor’s will give me plenty of options.”
Inspired by Krista’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.