When Steven Gura graduated from high school, he knew exactly what he wanted to do: become a strong role model for children. “It’s not as common for men to become nurses and definitely less common for them to work in pediatrics or women’s care,” says Steven, who is from Michigan. He earned the BSN in 1997 at Oakland University and started his career at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital-Oakland, working on a busy pediatric unit with cross-training in the PICU, NICU and Mother-Baby Unit.
Working his way up to management, trying teaching
Very soon into his career, Steven was promoted to nurse manager of the pediatric unit at St. Joseph Mercy. He stayed in that role until 2002, when he moved to Port Huron Hospital as a floor nurse on the midnight shift in pediatrics. He also spent time as the women and children’s case manager and as a clinician nurse with the ability to provide newborn care and screening.
Back for an MSN in 2012
To continue advancing his career, Steven enrolled in a pediatric Nurse Practitioner program in 2012. But the program was full time and he struggled to keep up with that and his full-time job at Port Huron. He dropped the program, vowing to return to school when the time was right.
When a colleague suggested Steven apply to become an adjunct clinical instructor at St. Clair County Community College in 2017, he was intrigued. “Teaching is something I’ve always been interested in doing,” he says. He started as a pediatric clinical instructor, teaching pediatric nursing students. “I really liked it so much. I started thinking about whether it might be something I wanted to do full time.”
Looking for an MSN Nursing Education Program
While teaching part time, Steven continued to work full time at Port Huron Hospital, an educational partner of American Sentinel University. “I started looking into American Sentinel’s nursing education track and really liked the flexibility of the schedule, the ability to take one class at a time and the support of the school,” he says. Steven started classes in 2017.
In 2018, Steven was hired as a full-time instructor in St. Clair Community College’s Licensed Practical Nursing program. He is the program and academic lead. “I love it,” he says. “I teach but I also work with the advisory board and have other responsibilities. I recently started my specialty courses in the MSN and they’re already helping me so much. They’re opening my eyes to the depth of what I do. I can already tell that when I get through the MSN program, I’ll be better at what I do.”
Continuous learning is the goal
Now teaching full time at St. Clair, Steven says he’s achieved what he set out to achieve. As for the future, he says he’ll consider continuing on for a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Educational Leadership at American Sentinel in the future. “Continuous learning is really important,” Steven says. With two middle-school-age children in the formative years, he knows that showing them how important it is to keep striving for better teaches valuable life lessons. “I want to show them that to make a change or build your career, it takes improving yourself through further education.”
Inspired by Steven’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.