Anita Stanley grew up around nurses, so it was no surprise when the native of Pineville, Louisiana, decided to become one herself. “When I was a senior in high school, we had a program that offered students the opportunity to become Certified Nurse Aids, so I did that and started working after I graduated in a nursing home,” says Anita, whose CNA career started in 1993.
Continuing on for the LPN
After working as a CNA and in childcare, Anita decided to further her education and career opportunities by becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2004. That’s when she was bitten by the education bug.
“I had so many family members who were nurses when I was young that I decided I really needed to continue my education,” she says. “I was seeing a lot of literature about phasing out ADN nurses and requiring the BSN, so I knew that it was important for me to open up those doors of opportunity.”
Medical-Surgical clinical experience to start
Anita earned an Associate Degree of Nursing in 2010 from Northwestern State University and started her RN career on the med-surg floor at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Pineville. She continued her education to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2012. To gain additional experience, she also became a weekend travel nurse.
A job change that sparked further education
In 2014, Anita was blessed with a third child—with her older two children in high school and college. “It was a total surprise as we were almost empty nesters, and it made me realize that I needed to make a change at work too, as the 12-hour shifts were not going to work with a newborn,” she says. When an opening to become a case manager at the VA Medical Center arose, Anita applied and was hired for the job. Later, she decided to venture into infection control and was chosen as the multidrug resistant organisms (MDRO) coordinator in September 2017.
“I was very nervous, as this was the first time I hadn’t worked in patient care,” Anita admits. Her desire to feel more confident in her new role and assisting the facility’s infection preventionist, led her to consider an MSN. “I started looking around casually and discovered American Sentinel University’s MSN Infection Prevention and Control. It’s one of the few programs like it, and I was starting to really enjoy what I was doing.” Anita took a leap of faith, applied and started the MSN program in fall 2018.
Equipped for the future
With just one class left until she finishes the MSN Infection Prevention & Control, Anita is excited to have the credentials to further advance in infection control. But the effort is also about solidifying her knowledge base. “I am excited to get certified and one day take on an actual infection preventionist role down the road. I want to be in a role where I apply what I’ve learned.”
Is further education in Anita’s future? “Never say never,” she says. “This was a great program and American Sentinel is an excellent school. If I see a role that I want to pursue down the road like being an adjunct professor, I might find my way back to school. It’s been a good experience.”
Inspired by Anita’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.
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