When Connie Linnane went off to college as a teenager, she had her sights set on a career in architecture. But after two and a half years of course work, she found herself second guessing the choice and unhappy with the curriculum. Connie decided to shift her focus—and save some money—and attend Des Moines Area Community College.
“My mom was the one to suggest healthcare as an option,” says Connie, who was born and raised in Iowa. She took a few nursing prerequisites and the rest was history. In 1986, Connie graduated with an Associate in Applied Science Nursing and soon thereafter began her nursing career at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines.
From Med-Surg to labor and delivery
Connie started her career in inpatient medical-surgical pediatrics before moving into labor and delivery, a role in which she stayed for 28 years. “Getting each mother through such a lifechanging event as labor was a privilege,” she says. “I liked the one-on-one contact with the chance to work with families.”
Achieving a goal: A bachelor’s degree
In the early 2000s, Connie got the itch to finish what she had started so many years before and earn a bachelor’s degree. Because she had so many architecture classes under her belt, she finished up the Bachelor of Architecture in 2002, getting an emphasis in women’s healthcare, ADA and historic preservation design.
“It was a great blend of two passions of mine: architecture and healthcare,” says Connie. “I thought that maybe I could one day become a consultant that would guide the design of healthcare professionals designing medical spaces.”
MSN Infection Prevention and Control
Years later, Connie started to realize that furthering her education in nursing would benefit her. “Many coworkers were going back for BSN degrees and although retirement was on the horizon, I thought more education would benefit me so I could continue to work part time or even pursue something totally different.”
Connie was introduced to American Sentinel through a colleague, a graduate of the university. “I liked the model where students all are assigned to student success advisors and I really liked the support of students as whole,” she says. Connie enrolled in the MSN Infection Prevention Control program in 2014, building off her interest in public health and research. “Infection prevention is an important conversation happening throughout the nation.”
Challenges along the way
Connie took one course at a time and had to take almost a year off school when her father passed away and a few other family matters arose. “The student success advisors really gave me space but continued to encourage me,” she says. “The university has been so wonderful and so patient with me. They want students to succeed.”
A future in infection prevention
When Connie graduates—she’s in the home stretch of her course work—she hopes to move into an infection preventionist position for a healthcare organization. She’s also interested in doing research for patient safety. Connie recently retired from Broadlawns Medical and is excited for the next chapter. “When I get this master’s degree finished, I think I will have proven something to others and to myself. I’ve enjoyed the intellectual stimulation and the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m excited to get involved in infection prevention research and take the next step in my career.”
Inspired by Connie’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.