Tragedy is what led Maggie Mejia down the nursing path, though she didn’t recognize the fortuitous nature of her accident until later in life. “I was the victim of a hit-and-run accident when I was 11 years old and I wasn’t supposed to make it,” says Maggie, who was born and raised in Riverside, California, where she still lives today. “Being in and out of the hospital so much, I started to like the environment.”
By the time she reached her senior year in high school, Maggie knew what she wanted to do: nursing. She earned an associate degree in 1998, and transferred into the BSN program at California State University at San Bernardino. Once she graduated in 2002, she joined the medical-surgical unit at Riverside Community Hospital, where she had worked as a student nurse while in college (from 2000 until her 2002 graduation).
After four years in med-surg, Maggie had the chance to move to the postpartum and nursery units—and she fell in love with it. “I kept thinking I would move back, but I ended up loving it so much that I’m still there,” she says. Starting in 2006, she also had the chance to teach at her alma mater, CSU San Bernardino, as a clinical instructor, in the obstetrics rotation in the postpartum, labor and delivery, nursery and neonatal intensive care unit.
Although teaching had never before crossed her mind, she realized it suited her well. “Teaching made me better at my job in nursing,” she says. “I am more up-to-date on different topics that students are learning, and I really love seeing the light bulb go on when I’m teaching new nurses.”
Time for a master’s
As she taught clinicals, Maggie began to consider her future as a teacher. “For years, I had been trying to get into labor and delivery, but it was competitive,” she says. “Part of why I started teaching and got the Labor and Delivery Fundamentals certificate is that I wanted to show that I was bettering myself. Along the way, I fell in love with teaching.”
A colleague at CSU San Bernardino told Maggie to check out American Sentinel University—where she was a DNP student—and its MSN Nursing Education. “I didn’t think I would be able to go back to school with four young children, but when I checked out the program, I really liked the look of it and felt encouraged that I could do it,” she says. “The curriculum has been so great. It’s opened my eyes to so many things and has made me want to dig more into evidence-based practice and how to educate students correctly using theory and different learning strategies.”
Achieving her dream
Maggie walked in June commencement ceremony and completed her course work in August 2019. She hopes that with her new MSN credentials, she can continue to teach clinicals at CSU San Bernardino and at other local universities.
A longtime dream has also finally come true: she moves into labor and delivery in September 2019. “I had a great experience at American Sentinel,” she says. “Many doors have opened for me. I’m excited that this effort was worth it.”
Inspired by Maggie’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.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.