At 18 years old, Cindy Wright had no idea that she would become a nurse. She was headed off to Covenant College on a basketball scholarship, but a knee injury her first semester wiped out her career and caused her to rethink her plans. “I became really homesick and ended up heading home,” says Cindy, who is from southern New Jersey. Unsure what to do with her life thereafter, she was nudged toward nursing by a family friend who thought she had the personality for it.
LPN to start
In 1981, Cindy graduated from an LPN program and started her career at Cooper University Medical Center on the medical teaching floor. There, she encountered many Registered Nurses and was encouraged to go back to school herself. She became an RN in 1985 and started working in various hospitals’ emergency rooms. “I really like getting varied experiences as you do in the ER,” she says.
After a while, however, Cindy was seeking a slower pace. She accepted a job on the IV/PICC team at Virtua Health System in 2008. In 2011, she joined Medilink as a PICC nurse, subcontracting at Salem Hospital.
A lost opportunity
Cindy started thinking about returning to school when she was passed over for a per diem position for not having her BSN. “Honestly, my pride was really hurt,” she says. “I assumed that with 36 years of experience, I would be qualified, but I was not.” Cindy resigned herself to the fact that staying in the acute care hospital setting would require that she get a BSN. In 2018, Cindy was hired at Acuity Hospital in Atlantic City for a per diem position. Shortly thereafter, she started the BSN.
Finding American Sentinel University
Originally, Cindy started the BSN at a university near her home. But Cindy was in classes with students just starting out and was finding herself underchallenged and unexcited. That’s when she met another nurse at her Acuity position. “She started telling me about her school, American Sentinel,” she says. “I got so excited about the BSN SIMPath® program and the fact that I could do competency-based education and get done faster.” Cindy enrolled and started in January 2019.
A great journey
Having been out of school for such a long time, Cindy admits that she was nervous about being a student again. “It’s been a journey, but a great journey,” she says. “There’s so much positive encouragement that I became confident that I could overcome all the little roadblocks that arise. I’m anxious to finish, but it has been awesome. I’ve learned to think a little differently and use my critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
Cindy’s goals for the future? To continue working in acute care settings. “I’m a bedside nurse and I love being one,” she says. “I want to always be qualified to work in the hospital setting.” As for her American Sentinel experience, it has exceeded her expectations. “This has been a game changer for me. This degree will be a turning point in my life. I’ll turn 60 in 2020 and I’ll finish my BSN. I feel accomplished and I would absolutely recommend American Sentinel.”
Inspired by Cindy’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.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.