When Jennifer Carroll graduated from high school, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, so she joined the Army. “My aunt was a labor and delivery nurse and my dad was an LPN, so I was exposed to that world, and my mom had always suggested nursing to me,” says Jennifer, who was born and raised in Florida. After leaving the Army, Jennifer continued her education at the University of Central Florida, where she earned a BSN. She started her career at Florida Hospital working in critical care in the ICU, CCU and CVICU/open heart recovery unit
For many years, Jennifer juggled both her career and her family life—she had two children not long after nursing school. She and her family moved to Connecticut in 1999 to be closer to her husband’s family. Five years later, Jennifer went back to school for a Master of Biological Sciences in nurse anesthesia, graduating in 2006. “I became a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and soon began my own business providing anesthesia services for different hospitals and facilities,” says Jennifer. “Along the way, I developed this passion for mentoring and teaching people, which is inherent in nursing.” In 2015, she became a nurse anesthetist at New York Presbyterian. She continues to maintain her independent business providing anesthesia services to other facilities.
Back for an MSN in Nursing Education
That interest in sharing knowledge nudged Jennifer toward an MSN in Nursing Education. “Even though I had a master’s, I felt it was important to earn an MSN so I could teach,” she says. She began researching online nursing education master’s programs and came across American Sentinel University. “I liked how American Sentinel was military friendly and willing to recognize some of the classes I’d taken in my MS program.”
Jennifer started the MSN program in May 2015 and discovered that her initial impression was spot on. “I chose a program without even realizing how great the academic experience would end up being,” she says. “The academic rigor was very high and I’ll admit, I had to really persevere through some difficult courses.” In January 2018, Jennifer completed the MSN Nursing Education.
Continuing to strive toward her goal
Partway through the MSN program, Jennifer set another big goal: to earn a doctorate. She sought one focused on nurse anesthesia and ended up selecting Quinnipiac University, taking her first course in fall 2016—while simultaneously pursuing the MSN at American Sentinel University. “It was a busy time, but mostly I found that taking classes at American Sentinel prepared me very well for the DNP classes I was taking,” she says.
An exciting opportunity
This past spring, Jennifer had the chance to teach adjunct for Columbia University. As she suspected it would be, the role was fulfilling and enjoyable—and encouraged Jennifer to apply for a full-time faculty position within Quinnipiac’s Nurse Anesthesia program. To her excitement, she was hired for the job—and starts the position August 6.
“It’s exactly what I’ve been working toward all this time,” she says. “I’m thrilled. I want to help future generations of nurses become great clinicians and I’m looking forward to preparing them to do that.”
A program that fits people’s lives
Jennifer credits American Sentinel for helping her set her CV apart. “I believe working toward the DNP gave me the credentials to be an eligible candidate for my new position, but the MSN Nursing Education made all the difference,” she says. “I’m very glad I did the MSN. American Sentinel is great about offering programs that fit into people’s lives. The MSN was challenging, no doubt, but now that I’ve reached this goal, I know that it was all worth it.”
Inspired by Jennifer’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.