Caitlin Bishop has wanted to be a nurse since she was a young child. “My grandmothers, my aunts, and several other women on my dad’s side of the family were nurses, so it’s always been in my head that nursing is what I would do too,” says Caitlin, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, spent a few years in Moscow, Russia, where her father worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency, and returned to Kansas City after graduating high school at the Ango American School of Moscow.
A big life milestone and a move to Kentucky
In 2010, Caitlin married her high school sweetheart at 19 and moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where her husband was stationed in the U.S. Army. There, she attended Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, earning Certified Nurse Aide and Licensed Practical Nurse designations in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Caitlin started her career as an LPN in Louisville.
“I wanted to continue on and become a Registered Nurse too,” says Caitlin, who continued her education journey in an LPN to RN program at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Kentucky. She graduated in 2015 and joined Ireland Army Hospital Emergency Department as a Registered Nurse.
Relocating to Texas
After Caitlin’s husband got out of the Army, the couple moved to Dallas, Texas, in 2016. She joined Health South Rehabilitation Hospital in 2016 as an RN, became a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) and decided the time was right to further her education even more. She started looking into online Bachelor of Science Nursing programs.
“I looked at probably a dozen schools’ BSN programs and evaluated everything from the length of courses to the cost, and American Sentinel University won me over,” she says. “I’m a busy working mom, and I was really impressed with their military discount, online platform and eight-week classes.” She started the BSN in 2016.
Always wanted to teach
Caitlin has thought about teaching since she was an LPN student. “As I neared the end of my BSN program in 2017, I thought about how much I love sharing information with patients and others,” she says. “I wanted to combine my clinical experience and nursing education.”
After graduating with the BSN, Caitlin continued onward for an MSN Nursing Education, finishing the program in spring 2018 while working for a pediatric home health provider in Dallas. She then joined Instructional Connections as a nurse educator, teaching medical/surgical and maternity/pediatrics.
An excellent education
Once again, Caitlin had a great experience. “I continue to recommend American Sentinel to everyone I come into contact with,” she says. “To anyone who has a lot going on and needs that flexibility to achieve a big goal, I tell them that this is a place where they’ll get a lot of support and understanding.”
Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate
With the MSN Nursing Education under her belt, Caitlin decided to augment her experience with a poster-master’s Family Nurse Practitioner certificate. “I don’t want to get out of patient care and only teach. I’d like to combine all of my experience so that one day, I can open my own family practice. I’d love to have multiple Nurse Practitioners working in the clinic with different specialties so we can treat patients of all ages.” To encourage her peers, Caitlin started an American Sentinel FNP Facebook page and is its administrator.
Eyeing a Doctorate of Nursing Practice
In the meantime, Caitlin is planning her future as an FNP graduate in fall 2020 and thinking about what’s next. “My five-year plan is to have a doctorate and own my own clinic,” she says. “I could see returning to American Sentinel again, because it has been a great experience throughout my BSN, MSN and certificate programs. My family jokes that I’m a ‘professional school-goer.’ I feel like nursing is constantly changing as healthcare innovations come out and we as nurses should keep the pace. I know that these degrees will help me tremendously.”
Inspired by Caitlin’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.
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