For Lacie Maninga, going into healthcare was something she always expected. “My granddad was a pharmacist, my mom was a radiology director, my dad and stepdad are nurses, and my stepmom is a surgical receptionist,” says Lacie, who comes from a small town in Kentucky. “I grew up in hospitals, so it was really a matter of which healthcare path I wanted to take.”
Nursing was at the top of Lacie’s list. First, however, she started a family. She married and had four children, but a divorce in 2010 changed her life trajectory. “I was 27 years old and a single mom,” she recalls. “I wanted to do something that could support my family.” She became an LPN in 2012 and started working.
Off for new adventures
In 2013, Lacie remarried and moved to Key West, Florida, for her husband’s military career. She continued working as an LPN but was still looking for her opportunity to one day become a nurse. That opportunity came in 2017, after moving to North Carolina. Lacie completed a one-year LPN to RN program, graduating in early 2018.
A spark ignited
Being back in school, Lacie says, inspired her to want more. When her grandfather fell ill with terminal lung cancer last summer, she went back home to take care of him. “He has always been my cheerleader and asked me about school,” she says. “It really made me think about looking into BSN programs, and I did an online search. That’s when I found American Sentinel University.”
As it turned out, one of Lacie’s former instructors from her RN program—whom Lacie had turned to for advice about getting the BSN—was an American Sentinel student as well. “It just made me feel like I was looking at the right school,” she says. After her grandfather passed in July, Lacie returned to North Carolina and started the BSN SIMPath® program, which allows students to complete competencies instead of classes in order to earn as many credits as they like in 16-week terms.
A longtime dream
Although Lacie knows that earning the BSN will open doors for her in her career, the pursuit is also personal. “I was a teenage mom and I think a lot of people assumed I would never go to college,” she says. “I wanted to crush the low statistic that so few teen parents earn bachelor’s degrees. I want to show my children that I’m not a statistic and you can do anything you set your mind to.”
End goal: teaching
In September 2018, Lacie accepted a position at Cape Fear Valley Health System as an RN on the heart failure floor. She also works part time at Harnett Health in the emergency room. One day, Lacie hopes to teach. “I love both positions but I would also love to teach clinicals one day,” she says. “I never want to give up working at the bedside, but there’s something special about changing people’s lives through teaching other nurses.”
A highly recommended program
Lacie is thrilled that the SIMPath® program is allowing her to power through her BSN program quickly. “I love this university and tell every nurse who will listen about this program,” she says, adding that many colleagues at Cape Fear Valley Health have joined her in the BSN program. Even while working two jobs, raising her children and playing roller derby on an internationally ranked team (her husband is the team’s coach), she can still make school work. “I want to keep going and get an MSN in nursing education. American Sentinel has impressed me with their excellent communication and supportive environment.”
Inspired by Lacie’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.
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