When Wanda Moss was a high school student in Pennsylvania, she wasn’t sure what she’d do for a career. She got married and started a family as a teenager, and years later found herself in the position of being a single mother of three children.
“I had to do something,” says Wanda. “So, I went to the local college in Ohio where I was living by then and double majored in applied law and applied business.” After graduating in 1999, Wanda worked part time for the health department while also working at a daycare center and as a night janitor.
Owning a salon in Virginia
In 2002, Wanda moved to Virginia and got a job at a day spa, where she soon got an opportunity to buy the business. She owned and operated the salon for eight years but struggled after the 2009 recession and closed a year later.
Amid that time, Wanda’s first grandchild was born with complications. Sadly, she passed away at 27 days old. “That was 2006, and when she died, I knew I wanted to do something different with my life,” she says. “So, when my business closed a few years later, I started nursing school at the Sentara College of Health.” Wanda graduated in 2017 with the BSN.
Starting her nursing career
Wanda started her nursing career at Sentara Obici Hospital on the medical-oncology floor. She became chemotherapy certified and has rotated throughout the year as a COVID-19 nurse too. Wanda quickly earned a reputation for advocating for her patients and found herself exploring MSN programs. “A friend of a friend had gone to American Sentinel University and recommended it,” she says. “I had actually started a program at another university and it just wasn’t a good experience. American Sentinel sounded great right away”
The MSN Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership met all Wanda’s criteria. When she started classes in 2019, it felt like a fit from the start. “American Sentinel is so far beyond the other colleges that I’ve looked at,” she says. “Their courses actually teach what you need to know to be a success in your field of study.” She hopes to graduate in 2022.
A possible future in mental health
Wanda hopes that the MSN Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership will allow her to manage a unit one day. “I’d love to move up in my hospital because I really do love this community,” she says. Wanda could see herself working in mental health down the road as well. “What’s happening in mental health right now is tragic and I’d love to help make an impact there. If I could be a voice for change, I would be very honored to be that voice.”
Following a difficult year
Like many, Wanda had one of the most difficult years of her life in 2020. “I’ve lost family to COVID and my family has had so many challenges,” she says. “But I will say that this MSN has been a bright spot. I’ve started a brand-new chapter at 53 years old. I know there’s more I can do to make a difference in nursing and I’m excited that I get to do so.”
Inspired by Wanda’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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