As Daryl McPhail crosses the finish line of her RN to BSN program and completes her final class, she reflects on one of the most rewarding experiences of her career.
“I will admit: it started out very scary for me,” Daryl says of returning to school for the BSN. “But here I am finishing up and I’ve learned a lot. I feel like I’ve gained skills that will help me in my job and I’m very proud of the achievement.”
The Houston-area native didn’t start out in nursing but had thought about working in the medical field since she was in high school. She spent a decade in the loan department of a bank, but after having two children, decided to go back to school. Daryl earned the Associate Degree of Nursing in 1994 at the age of 38.
A range of experience
That year, Daryl joined what is now Houston Methodist Hospital, where she worked in orthopedics and high-risk obstetrics. In 2004, Daryl moved into case management, utilization review. “Around that time, the hospital was becoming a Magnet facility and it became mandated that nurses get the BSN,” she recalls. “Going back to school was something I always wanted to do but the more time went by, the less I wanted to do it. Once it was a requirement, I took a deep breath and went for it!”
Third time is a charm
Returning to school didn’t come without trepidation for Daryl. She even started classes three different times and withdrew each time.
“It was just overwhelming and I think I was afraid because I’d been out of school for such a long time,” she says. When a former director told her to look into American Sentinel University, something clicked. “I really trusted her and when I looked at the university, something fit there that hadn’t fit before.” Daryl enrolled in 2017.
It’s challenging to work full time and go to school, she admits, but she’s enjoying herself more than she ever thought she would. “I have a 4.0 GPA and I’m pretty proud of that,” she says. Daryl still works at Houston Methodist—she just passed her 25-year milestone—and plans to finish her career there.
School is for anyone
At 63 years old, Daryl advises other nurses who want to go back to school to not be afraid. “You’re never too old to learn something new,” she says. “You can do anything you want to do. I tell myself this every day, and I believe it. School isn’t just something for people starting out. It’s for anyone who wants to better themselves and gain more opportunities.”
In June 2019, Daryl, her husband, two grown children, daughter-in-law, five grandchildren, and four close friends will travel to Denver, Colorado, for American Sentinel University commencement. “My husband and my whole family are very proud of me and excited,” she says. “I would not miss graduation. Becoming a nurse was a big step, but this is something different. This is a bachelor’s degree, and I earned it.”
Inspired by Daryl’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. Have you dreamed of earning your BSN, MSN or DNP? With American Sentinel, you can make that dream a reality.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.