Pamela Stephens got into nursing as a young adult first as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2005. Within a few years, however, she knew she wanted to do more. “I liked helping people, but I was excited to explore as much as I could, which is why I decided to become a Registered Nurse,” says Pamela, who is from a small town in South Carolina. After earning the Associate Degree of Nursing in 2010, she started her RN career in case management for a nursing home in Virginia.
Eventually, Pamela became a unit manager at the nursing home and an assistant director of nursing for a home health company. She worked her way up to director of nursing before returning to the long-term nursing home setting as a clinical manager and director.
Moving into management, earning the BSN
Along the way, Pamela decided she wanted to further her education. “This was around 2011 and there was a big push to get as many nurses BSN educated as possible,” she says. In her research for the right college, she came across American Sentinel University. “I really liked the university and had actually started somewhere else, but had a bad experience. I decided it would be a good choice for me, and I was definitely right.” Pamela graduated in 2013.
The spark of an idea
Although she had no intention of continuing in school past the BSN, being a student got Pamela excited about other possibilities. “American Sentinel didn’t have a Nurse Practitioner program at that time, which is what I was really interested in, but I wanted to continue on my path toward leadership. I enrolled in the MSN Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership program in 2014, finishing it in 2016.” Pamela worked in travel nursing while in school.
Seeking something more
After the MSN, Pamela continued her leadership path at a rehabilitation center and another long-term healthcare facility in Virginia before joining Consulate Healthcare of Windsor in 2019. That’s when she decided it was time to start the MSN Adult Primary Gerontology Nursing Practitioner program in 2019.
“Once again, I had felt that there was something more out there for me,” she says. “I feel that the Nurse Practitioner credential is so valuable. We need more of them, and I was excited to do this program at the university that has been so good to me for all these years.”
A complete circle
Now that Pamela has completed the MSN Adult Primary Gerontology Nursing Practitioner—she finished her last class in January 2021—she’s excited to apply what she has learned at Consulate Healthcare and wherever she goes in the future. “Long term, I’d love to have my own practice one day working with older adults,” she says. “As I always say, I love helping people. I think I could help more people that way.”
As a three-time alumna and an American Sentinel ambassador, Pamela says she recommends the university for its accessibility and relevant curriculum. “I feel like you learn so much in American Sentinel’s programs and are held to a high standard. It’s a university that really cares about helping its students get to the next level in their careers.”
Inspired by Pamela’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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