Year of the Nurse Scholarship recipient
As a military spouse, Caldwell Lewin has worked in many different states and settings—and she likes the variety. But when she became an infection preventionist at Sitka Community Hospital in Sitka, a tiny fishing village in Alaska, where she lived from 2013 to 2018, it was her “ah-ha” career moment.
“Up to that point, I was largely an emergency room nurse by background,” says Caldwell, who started her nursing career in 1998 in the critical care department of Baptist Hospital of Miami, Florida. “I absolutely love being an infection preventionist. It touches all aspects of healthcare and patient care. It has allowed me to integrate myself into the facilities I’ve worked in since.”
Certified Infection Control designation
Before moving from Alaska to New Orleans, Louisiana, in fall 2018, Caldwell pursued certification in infection control (CIC). That fueled her fire to learn, and she started looking into BSN and MSN programs. “The thing holding me back from getting a BSN earlier in my career is that I have a bachelor’s degree already in psychology and earned a diploma in nursing right after college,” she says. “I thought, ‘I already have a bachelor’s, why do this?’ But eventually, I knew it was important, especially when I started getting really excited about advanced education in infection prevention and control.”
MSN Infection Prevention and Control
Once she was living in Louisiana and settled into her job as infection preventionist at St. Bernard Parish Hospital, Oschner Health System, Caldwell started researching education programs and discovered American Sentinel University.
“I liked American Sentinel from the start,” she says. “The pathway from the BSN right into the MSN Infection Prevention and Control program was smooth, and the university is military friendly with reasonable tuition. They gave me credit for my CIC certification. All the pieces just fell into place.” Caldwell started at American Sentinel in February 2019. She is completing the bridge program to earn both a BSN and MSN Infection Prevention and Control.”
Year of the Nurse Scholarship recipient
One year into the BSN program, Caldwell learned about the Year of the Nurse Scholarship honoring the World Health Organization’s designation of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. She applied for the scholarship and was pleased to learn that she was a recipient.
“When you earn something, it means that much more,” she says. “It validates everything I’ve done. I feel like I’m a good nurse, but receiving this is an honor of recognition as much as it is a financial help to me. I’m really proud of where I am and this is a win that feels especially good.”
A new job, a new adventure—during the COVID-19 crisis
Most of Caldwell’s adult life has been an adventure, moving to a new state every couple of years. After a promotion to become the director of perioperative services at St. Bernard in fall 2019, Caldwell took a few months off school to get her feet under her. When coronavirus hit hard in early 2020, she was forced to postpone her next American Sentinel class while her hospital got a handle on things.
Now, Caldwell and her family are preparing for another move—this time, to North Carolina in June, where her husband will be stationed. “I am going to restart school after we move,” she says, adding that she will complete the MSN Infection Prevention and Control in 2022. “I’m excited about the future and how these degrees will help me as I advance in my career.”
Prepared for a new and different world
American Sentinel University has prepared Caldwell for a “totally new world,” she says. “I graduated nursing school 20 years ago, and I believe it’s important to continue to educate yourself as healthcare changes,” she says. “One of the tenets of our profession is ongoing learning. I’m grateful to build my foundation so I can be a better nurse.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Five scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here.