When Gladys Turner set out to earn the MSN at American Sentinel University in August 2017, she was excited to fulfill a longtime goal: to earn a master’s degree.
“I decided to get the MSN so I could better myself for future opportunities in case management,” says Gladys, who has worked at Heartland’s Department of Manor Care Health Services in Maryland as a case manager since 2016. She earned certifications in palliative care, case management and medication aide instruction. And as opportunities arose to teach medical technician employees at Heartland and private classes on CPR, first aid and advanced cardiac life support, Gladys started thinking about teaching one day too.
“I have so much excitement and energy that teaching allows me to let out,” says Gladys. Midway through her MSN program, Gladys decided to earn more education at Montgomery College, taking a “train the trainer” class on how to prepare Certified Nursing Assistants for success. Her instructor recognized her passion for teaching and encouraged her to apply to teach CNA and GNA students. She was hired in December 2018 by the Workforce Development and Continuing Education program at Montgomery College.
Gladys says teaching fulfills her passion for helping new nurses learn about improving patient care. “I’ll show them everything from how to transfer patients safely and to protect themselves from injury to how to communicate with patients effectively,” she says. “I didn’t discover it until this but I feel like I’m a natural teacher. I was the oldest of three so I’m used to leading.”
A dream fulfilled
When Gladys moved to the United States from Ghana, Africa, in 1999, she was excited to pursue a college education. Her career started as a Certified Nurse Aide before she moved into home healthcare, pediatrics as a nursing assistant, and patient care technician.
After earning an associate degree in 2008 and a BSN in 2010, Gladys took off from there, joining Heartland Hospice, where she worked for seven years in rehabilitation and skilled nursing. “Hospice is a calling,” says Gladys. “I’m proud of what I do and how important my role is for the families we serve.”
When Gladys started her MSN case management specialization program at American Sentinel University, she envisioned it would be the final milestone of her educational journey. “I have loved the program and the chance to interact with students all over the country,” she says.
The deeper she got into her program, the more excited Gladys became about school—and she was so successful in her classes that she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau in spring 2019. “I’m extremely excited about this,” she says. “I am someone who is willing to work hard for any success, and I’m proud that I’ve been able to earn a 4.0 GPA. This degree has done so much more for me than I thought it would, and the Sigma Theta Tau induction meant the whole world to me.”
Next goal: a doctorate
Gladys is now making plans to continue her education for a Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership. One day, she hopes to open a training school for GNA and CNA students. “The Nurse Aide path is such a great career,” she says. “I think there is a need out there.” But that’s not all. Gladys also dreams of becoming a dean of a university, surveyor and earning a legal certificate to enable her to advocate for nurses and healthcare professionals.
As Gladys nears graduation in December 2019, she credits her advisor, Abigail, and her family for encouraging her to keep going. “American Sentinel is a family environment,” she says. “Abigail, my husband and my son are my cheerleaders. I’ve had challenges along the way, but I’m almost there. And it has been worth it.”
Inspired by Gladys’ story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, infection control, or case management. 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.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.