Denise Walker is proud of her 4.0 GPA at American Sentinel University—because it didn’t come easy.
The Lexington, Kentucky, native says that school was never her strong suit growing up, but largely because of lack of effort. “If I’m being honest, I didn’t apply myself as a high school student, so after a year at the University of Kentucky, I struggled,” says Denise. After a year in college, she dropped out and went to cosmetology school. While in school, she gave birth to a premature baby, and the experience left her in awe of the nurses who cared for her and her son. Denise practiced cosmetology for four years before deciding she wanted to become a nurse.
Inspired to become a nurse
By 1990, Denise was enrolled in an ADN program at Midway College. “I’d made the decision when I had my son that one day, I would become a nurse,” she says. She fulfilled that goal in 1993 and started her career at the University of Kentucky Hospital pediatric unit. In late 1994, she was hired at a children’s hospital and relocated to Sarasota, Florida—where she has lived ever since.
Over the next decade, Denise gained experience with neonatal, pediatric intensive care unit, home health and memory care patients. She got involved in a student organization at a local technical college, judging student competitions and volunteering in other ways. “I loved seeing students in action,” she says. “That opened the door to move into more of a teaching position with the Manatee County School Board, working as an instructor patient care technician in 2011.” To keep up her bedside nursing skills, Denise continued working part-time in home healthcare.
Advancing her own knowledge
Since 2014, Denise has worked for Sarasota County School Board as a health occupations and high school practical nursing instructor, guiding students who are interested in such career pathways.
For herself, she started thinking that a BSN was important. “I love teaching high school students, but I was thinking about the future and realizing that not having a bachelor’s degree could hold me back,” she says. She began to research online programs and found American Sentinel University.
The BSN Powered by SIMPath® program was a perfect fit. “I started in March 2020 and my goal was to get through this as quickly as I could while gaining as much as I could,” Denise says. “From the start, I’ve had a great experience. The admissions department made it all easy and my student success advisors have all been wonderful.”
More motivated than ever
Denise is proud of her 4.0 GPA and says she’s self-motivated this time around in her bachelor’s program. “What’s really cool is that I’m currently presenting and writing a book on how to make simulations realistic, something I deal with in my position as a health occupations instructor,” she says. “Being in the BSN program has sparked ideas and excitement.”
When Denise graduates in March 2021, she’s looking forward to seeing where the BSN takes her. The investment in herself has been the best one of her life.
“American Sentinel is an excellent choice for nurses because it is flexible and allows you to better yourself without going into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt,” she says. “I always tell people, ‘I invested in myself,’ and I’m really happy that I did. And you definitely get out of things what you put into them. I have more pride in myself and self-confidence than I’ve ever had.”
Inspired by Denise’s story? A BSN is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of nursing and when you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes. Have you dreamed of earning your BSN, MSN or DNP? With American Sentinel, you can make that dream a reality.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.
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