Growing up in the rural community of Osh Kosh, Nebraska, Tricia Davison says she never considered working in any other type of setting when she became a nurse in the late 1980s.
“I went to the University of Wyoming for my BSN and knew I wanted to stay working rural,” says Tricia, who grew up on a ranch. Her father, a medic in the U.S. Navy, is the one who encouraged her to pursue nursing—a career he described as something that was versatile and would allow her to work anywhere and try new areas.
Banner Health Systems
After graduating college, Tricia became a nurse at Banner Health Systems’ Platte County Hospital in Wyoming, gaining broad experience in the emergency room, obstetrics, the operating room and the post-anesthesia care unit. She moved to Ogallala Community Hospital back in Nebraska in 1994, where she stayed until 2002. There, Tricia was a surgical nurse and then a surgical services manager.
Gaining new experiences
As her father had suggested, Tricia did have many chances to expand her horizons and try new things. She joined Regional West Medical Center in 2002 as a circulating surgical nurse for multiple specialties. In 2005, Tricia moved to Regional West Garden County. The hospital is in Osh Kosh, where she grew up.
While at Regional West Garden County, Tricia had many opportunities to work her way up and move around—from outpatient services director to staff nurse, from corporate compliance officer to clinic director. During this time, she also decided to return to school for a master’s degree. “Getting an MSN was something I always wanted to do, but when you’ve always lived and worked rural, schools weren’t as close by.”
American Sentinel University
When she finally decided to go for it, Tricia discovered that going to school online was ideal. She learned about American Sentinel University through a colleague she met at a conference. “The school is military friendly and affordable and really fit into what I need,” she says. She started the MSN at American Sentinel in 2015 and chose the Nursing Leadership and Organizational Management specialization.
“I was the director of nursing at the time that I started, and so the leadership track made sense for my path and goals,” she says. Partway through the program, she moved into a patient care services director position. “I learned a lot in the program, and some of it was very validating for the things our hospital was doing. It fit my career well.” Tricia graduated with the MSN Nursing Leadership and Organizational Management in 2018.
Next goal: Family Nurse Practitioner
With her MSN under her belt, Tricia started thinking about her next objective: becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. “Where I live, there is a serious need for healthcare providers and it seemed like becoming an NP would really open some doors for me,” she says. When the university started to offer the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner in Nebraska, she signed up immediately, starting classes in January 2019.
A graduation, a move to South Dakota
In September 2020, Tricia completed the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner and made plans to move the rural South Dakota town where her husband grew up. In December 2020, she passed her certifying exam and is in the process of applying for her NP license.
She started a new job as a clinical manager at Fall River Hospital. In the future, Tricia hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner there. “I know my master’s degrees will help me get there,” she says. I feel like with both of these under my belt, I understand the business side of healthcare as well as the art and science of patient care. That makes me a more well-rounded practitioner.”
Inspired by Tricia’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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