From the ER to Nurse Practitioner: Colorado Nurse Earns MSN Family NP Degree

From the ER to Nurse Practitioner: Colorado Nurse Earns MSN Family NP Degree

Erin Bertelson always wanted to work in the medical field as a kid growing up. 

“I liked the idea of patient care,” says Erin, who is originally from Denton, Texas. “But I didn’t have a high GPA after taking undergrad courses in college, and nursing programs in Texas were very competitive.” A teacher encouraged Erin to consider becoming an Emergency Medical Technician and a paramedic to gain experience, so she enrolled in a paramedicine associate degree program at North Central Texas College. She graduated in 2007. 

Starting out in emergency 

In 2009, Erin moved to Colorado, a place she had visited before and loved. She got a job at Rural Metro as a paramedic, working on an ambulance. “I really love emergency medicine—both the pace and the teamwork that occurs working together in high-stress situations,” she says. And while she enjoyed the pace of the job, she also wanted to have a more regular schedule. Erin joined the Medical Center of Aurora in 2012 as an ER patient care tech in emergency services. 

When a partner on the ambulance shared her interest in returning to school to become a Registered Nurse, Erin was on board with the idea too. “We both went to the Denver School of Nursing,” she says. After graduating in 2016, she transitioned into the Medical Center of Aurora’s emergency room as a nurse. 

Changed plans

After finishing the BSN at Denver School of Nursing, Erin had no intention of returning to school. But a coworker at the hospital shared that she was considering the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner at American Sentinel University, and Erin liked what she learned. 

“Emergency nursing is my passion, but I know I can’t do it my entire career,” she says. “As a Nurse Practitioner, I can provide more for my kids with less burden on my family, while still doing what I want to do: treat patients.” Erin started the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner in 2018.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Erin’s goal is to make a difference in patient’s lives. “As a Family Nurse Practitioner, you can really do anything from geriatrics to young kids and anything in between,” she says. “I feel this degree will allow me to expand however I want to, always staying close to patient care” 

In November 2020, Erin graduated from the program and passed her certification exams shortly thereafter. Down the road, she hopes to open a medical clinic with her husband—a police officer and part owner of a medical spa/wellness clinic—in Utah, where he is from and the couple plans to relocate in 2021.

A convenient, supportive program

As she plans her future, Erin says that the American Sentinel program was everything she needed it to be. “It was extremely convenient being fully online, and the staff was always so helpful and so responsive,” she says. “They were just great to work with. They want us to succeed in whatever path we choose.”

To others who are considering returning to school, Erin’s advice: go for it.

“You never know how much you’re capable of until you give yourself the chance,” she says. “I told myself I could never do something like this as a mom of two young children and a full-time nurse. But I did it. And if I can do it, anyone can.” American Sentinel is a school that has your back, she adds. “The staff really makes it easy to be successful. The program is manageable, and they set you up to achieve your best. I would recommend it, absolutely.” 

Inspired by Erin’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing educationinformaticsnursing management and organizational leadershipinfection 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

Have you dreamed of earning your BSNMSN 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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