Monique Rivers admits that when she went off to college, she still wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“I went to Winthrop University and got a degree in biology, but I didn’t know where that would take me after college,” says the native of Charleston, South Carolina. During her summers in college, Monique worked as a nursing assistant and became certified one summer. That led her to pursue a BSN at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1998.
Coronary care, acute care, telemetry and critical care
Over the next several years, Monique gained experience in several different hospitals in South Carolina and Virginia, where she moved in 2000. In 2003, she went to Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Medical Center (CJW), an HCA Healthcare facility, to work in the postpartum unit before moving into quality control.
At the same time, Monique decided to further her education with a graduate certificate in Health Services Administration in 2004. “In my clinical work, I kept thinking that I could do things better and different, but I knew I needed the education behind me to validate my knowledge and prove that I had an understanding of how an organization works from an administrative level,” she says. That ignited a spark for more education and Monique went on to earn a Master of Science in Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in 2005.
MSN at American Sentinel University
In 2006, Monique transitioned to the quality department at Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Medical Center then infection prevention and control. But in 2011, she was able to put her MSEd to work in a new role as director of education and employee health at HCA’s Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. “I enjoyed that role and it exposed me to this idea of teaching,” she says. “I learned that to do nursing education, I needed an MSN.”
Her research for the right program led her to American Sentinel University. “I needed an online program because I work full time and needed the flexibility to do school after hours and on weekends,” she says. “American Sentinel offered all that and more, and HCA was very supportive.” She earned the MSN Nursing Education in 2012.
Growing her career
In the time since she graduated from American Sentinel, Monique has moved into leadership at HCA. She moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to the corporate campus in 2012 to become the director of quality standards for the organization. She also served as director of regulatory and accreditation services from 2016 to early 2020. “The confidence I gained from the MSN opened up doors of opportunity for me to pursue this path at HCA corporate,” she says.
Monique earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing Administration at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2019. The decision came back to her desire to help patients. “As of April 2020, I relocated back to Chippenham and Johnston-Willis in Richmond, Virginia, where my career with HCA began, to become the VP of quality and compliance,” she says. “I want to directly impact nursing practice and see it in action on a day-to-day basis.”
Still striving forward
Although she’s accomplished a great deal already, Monique isn’t quite finished with everything she wants to do. She still wants to teach one day, and says her MSN degree will help her achieve that dream.
“I know that the MSN brought me closer to that possibility and will open that door for me when the time is right,” Monique says. “I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had and I tell everyone that education is what helps you grow and become more well-rounded. You only live once, and I want to make sure I take advantage of every opportunity.”
Inspired by Monique’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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