When Rubi Innanen graduated high school in New Jersey, she joined the family business, working at a desk job that she knew almost instantly wasn’t for her. “I volunteered at a first aid squad in my area and became certified as an Emergency Medical Technician,” says the New York native. “I absolutely loved it and became really interested in the healthcare field.” Rubi researched and found an 18-month Licensed Practical Nurse program, put herself through school, and started her career in labor and delivery.
Joining the Army and attending nursing school
In the mid-1990s, Rubi joined the U.S. Army and served two years active duty before meeting her husband, who was also in the Army. She had two children and turned her attention to raising them while moving around the world for her husband’s multiple deployments. Once her children were a little older, Rubi returned to school—first for an Associate of Arts and Science in 2006 and then for a BSN that she earned online in 2010. At the same time, she worked full time as a lead LPN at a concussion clinic/traumatic brain injury clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center at Schofield Barracks Health Clinic in Hawaii.
Building her RN career
With her BSN completed in 2010, Rubi joined Tripler’s ortho/neuro/vascular surgery ward as an RN. Life changes led her and her children to Texas, where Rubi became a rehabilitation and hospice nurse and a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse.
For several years, Rubi worked for both Encompass Health as a nurse manager and educator and functional improvement measurement tool coordinator and CRAssociates as a quality manager for its Veterans Association-based outpatient clinics. Eventually, Rubi moved to Houston, where she rejoined Encompass Health as a staff RN and educator/preceptor until summer 2018. She works once a week in the rehab/med-surg unit at Memorial Hermann as well.
Drawn to informatics
For years, Rubi had thought about getting a master’s degree. But as a single mom, she needed to set the endeavor aside until her children were older. During that hiatus, Rubi became intrigued by the emergence of big data in the healthcare industry. “Data collection plays a big role in caring for patients and I was so interested in this idea of putting my nursing skills and experience to use in a different way,” she says.
Rubi began searching for informatics-focused master’s programs and discovered American Sentinel University. “At the time, American Sentinel was one of the only schools with an MSN Nursing Informatics program,” she says. Rubi took her first course in June 2018 and intends to graduate in 2020. “I’ve seen healthcare evolve so much. I hope that with this education, I’m better able to be a catalyst of change at my company and among my peers.”
Achieving a dream
As of July 2018, Rubi has a new position at Healix Infusion as a corporate nurse trainer and software support staff. To other nurses thinking about going back to school, Rubi says take the leap of faith. “Where there is a will, there’s a way,” says Rubi, whose children are now in college and in the Air Force on active duty. “Life is always busy, but if you are determined, you can do it. American Sentinel has supported me along the way and I know that the things I can do with this degree one day are exponential.”
Inspired by Rubi’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.