Jen VanTiem has always felt passionate about caring for others, which is part of what led her down a path toward nursing.
“After high school, I became a Nurse Aide,” says Jen, who is from Harsens Island, Michigan. A young mother who had a daughter right after high school, Jen felt drawn to the stability of the career and the ability the help people every day. “A few years later, I went to our local community college and got my ADN. I was planning for the future, really. When my daughter started preschool, I went to college.”
Cardiac stepdown experience
After graduating from nursing school in 2008, Jen joined McLaren Port Huron Hospital as a nurse in the cardiac stepdown unit. She worked her way up to nursing supervisor, a role she has held for six years. After holding a leadership position for a while—and gaining critical care experience at another hospital nearby—Jen knew it was time to do something to expand her mind and build more skills. “I had a goal to do a BSN as soon as I graduated with the ADN degree, and it took me a little to get there, but I knew I would do it,” she says. “I love learning and I want to be great at what I do.”
Jen found American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences online and felt it was a great fit. “Everyone there was wonderful from the start,” she says. “I had started the BSN at another university and it just didn’t fit me very well.” At American Sentinel, Jen became inspired by the idea of teaching. By the time she graduated in 2019, she knew she would be back for an MSN soon. “I never thought about going anywhere else. I liked the organization and the setup.” Jen started the MSN Nursing Education in 2019.
Eager to teach
In a year and a half, Jen finished the MSN Nursing Education at American Sentinel. She applied and was hired to start teaching as a clinical nursing instructor at St. Clair Community College. “I had done a lot of precepting on our unit and I loved it, so I decided to try teaching clinicals to see how I enjoyed that,” she says. “I absolutely love it. I love seeing the excitement of students learning and watching them grow and advance.”
Long term, Jen says she’d like to continue working in nursing education. She hopes to continue teaching part time and eventually teach in retirement as well. But she wants to stay at the bedside for as long as she is able. “I think it’s so important to be current in what you teach,” she says.
Next goal: DNP Educational Leadership
Jen plans to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Educational Leadership one day when her youngest child is a little older (he’s seven). “I think education is very important and I want to increase the number of BSN-prepared nurses in our unit,” she says. “I really am excited about school and I’m so glad I went back. And I can speak for a lot of the staff here at McLaren Port Huron, who also attend American Sentinel. They feel the same way: it’s a supportive, great school.”
Inspired by Jen’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 nurse practitioner. 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.
Learn what American Sentinel has to offer:
Let us answer any questions you have. Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch quickly.