Jeanne Icolari didn’t set out to be a nurse, but she always had an interest in healthcare. After starting her family, Jeanne moved from her hometown of Queens, New York, to the Hudson Valley. She was an office manager for a short time before joining St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as a respiratory therapist, a role she held for nine years.
Back to nursing school
In the late 1990s, Jeanne decided she wanted to become a Registered Nurse and went back to school for her associate degree. “I was very fortunate to land in a hospital that started my career as an ED nurse, Vassar Brothers Medical Center,” she says. She worked in the emergency department for four years before she was approached to become the ER clinical coordinator. Thereafter, Jeanne gained additional experience in the emergency department of St. Francis Hospital, a level II trauma center.
Back to St. Luke’s Cornwall
In 2009, Jeanne had the chance to return to the place where it all began, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital. “I was so thrilled,” she says. She spent five years in the emergency department before she was invited to apply to become a point of entry case manager in 2015. “It was a good time for a change. My years of experience in the emergency department have prepared me for so much. I still interact with the patients, but in a different way.”
Ready for a challenge: the BSN
In late 2017, Jeanne took on a new challenge. “I am one of those people who likes trying new things and I also believe you’re never too old to learn something new,” she says. “I thought I’d return to school for a BSN.” With New York’s BSN in 10 law for all nurses to earn a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of licensure, her timing was good.
Jeanne researched online programs and came across American Sentinel University’s SIMPath® program, which allows students to complete competencies at their own pace to earn credit toward their BSN. “It was a perfect fit for me,” says Jeanne, who started the BSN SIMPath® program in February 2018. “You can push yourself to complete the modules at your pace. Best of all, I feel the material is so applicable to what I do in my case management job at St. Luke’s Cornwall.”
Lots of doors opening
Thus far, Jeanne has had a great experience with American Sentinel. “Everything has been so applicable and I feel like the hand-holding when you need it has been great,” she says. “American Sentinel seems like a university that’s all about helping students be successful.”
Her pursuit of education paid off. In May 2018, Jeanne was promoted to lead case manager. “I’m excited to bring new ideas to the organization, to hopefully help them see that there are different ways of doing things. St. Luke’s Cornwall has given me many awesome opportunities and they have been very supportive of me pursuing the BSN.”
Open to the possibilities
As someone who follows a path when it feels like the right one, Jeanne admits that she hasn’t decided whether she’ll pursue an MSN once she graduates with the BSN in 2019, but she is open to the idea. “I love growing and working, so I could see myself doing it,” she says. “I am always the person who raises their hand when an opportunity comes up. That’s gotten me here, so I am not saying this is the last degree I’ll ever earn. I’m always excited to learn something new.”
Inspired by Jeanne’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.