When Beverley Witter first came to New York in 1984 from her home country of Jamaica, she had considered becoming a nurse. “I wanted to work in health care but I also needed to start working so I got a job in banking, and worked for the same bank for about 14 years,” says Beverley. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 1996 from Fordham University. She also spent time at a private mortgage company before returning to banking as an assistant mortgage loan officer in 2002, where she stayed until 2009.
A place where she could help people
In 2004, Beverley started pursuing her nursing career dream. She began taking evening nursing prerequisite classes at Westchester Community College, and in 2006, she enrolled in the Dorothea Hopfer School of Nursing, graduating in 2008. By then, she was ready to switch careers. “I wanted to be somewhere I could really help people,” says Beverley. “I was seeking something more challenging yet rewarding.”
Starting her nursing career
Beverley began her nursing career in a mental health hospital while getting the BSN degree at Chamberlain University. She had her sights set on the acclaimed Roosevelt Hospital (now the Mount Sinai Hospital West in New York), and was persistent in pursuing them. “I contacted the Human Resources person and asked when would be good to apply and I kept trying until they gave me an interview,” she says. She also reached out to the recruiter at Montefiore Medical Hospital, where she had applied previously and was encouraged to get a BSN. “I told them they were the ones who inspired me to get my degree.” In 2011, she was hired per diem. She still works at both places today—as a per diem nurse at Montefiore and a staff nurse in oncology at Mount Sinai West.
Nudged toward an MSN
At Montefiore, Beverley was encouraged to take her education further. “The director of nursing told me when she hired me, ‘You have potential. I will haunt you while you work here to get a master’s degree!’” she recalls.
For Beverley, the idea didn’t appeal initially, but she considered what brought her to the United States in the first place. “My mom taught me how to read and spell using lamplight because we didn’t have electricity at that time,” she says. “I remember her telling me, ‘Education is your gateway.’ That inspired me to go back” In 2017, she started researching MSN programs.
Affordability and curriculum
Beverley’s first priority was to find an MSN program with a focus on infection prevention and control. “I loved the bedside but feel I’m at the point in my career where I need to lay out my next steps, and I like the idea of getting into infection prevention,” she says. American Sentinel University’s MSN Infection Prevention and Control program was affordable and fit what she sought and she started the program in 2015.
Beverley did encounter a few personal challenges. Her husband become very ill and she stepped away from school to be by his side in the hospital and care for him when he returned home.
Her American Sentinel advisors were patient and understanding and encouraged her to return to school when she was ready. “If it wasn’t for my student success advisor, Carolyn Rupp, I would have dropped out because of what a difficult time it was,” she says. “The support from her and my professors is what got me to the finish line.” In March 2019, Beverley was proud to graduate.
A bright future
As for her future, Beverley hopes to land a job in infection control in a healthcare facility one day. “I’d love to work with patients and their family members and also in the community,” she says. One day, she adds, she might even get a doctorate. “When I was at commencement in June, I saw the doctoral graduates and I thought, ‘I could do this.’ I always want to learn, so I could see myself going for it one day. And at American Sentinel, I know I can do it at my pace and have support along the way.”
Inspired by Beverley’s 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.