When Pennsylvania native Sherry Romanoskie went off to college after high school, her plans were to become a psychobiologist. But when she had to leave to care for family during her senior year, Sherry had to drop out of school. “I had enough education to be qualified to work in behavioral health, working with kids,” says Sherry. She worked with families and children in a behavioral health facility until returning to school 10 years later. In 1998, Sherry finished her Bachelor of Science in psychobiology at Albright College.
Pre-nursing career: Supporting disruptive youth
Once she had a bachelor’s degree, Sherry joined the Center for Schools and Communities, which implemented delinquency Prevention and Pennsylvania’s Family Group Decision Making intervention programs. Her jobs were to manage the Safe Schools and Delinquency Prevention Program and work with grantees of state-funded initiatives from the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health and Public Welfare. “I’ve always loved working with youth, so this position was great for me,” says Sherry. But when the grant-funded initiatives were discontinued at the onset of new state leadership, the program’s funding was not renewed, and Sherry took early retirement and committed to being a new mother. That’s when she started thinking about nursing.
“Both my mom and mother-in-law were nurses and they suggested that if I wanted to continue helping families, I should consider nursing,” Sherry says. “By then I had two young children. I decided it was time to make a change, although I knew going back to school was a huge commitment with two children.” Sherry started the BSN program at Bloomsburg University in 2011.
A start as a CNA
Sherry started her nursing career in 2013 as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, part of Geisinger Medical Center. “For so long I had worked with children in behavioral health, but that experience actually made me realize it was time to work with a different type of patient as a nurse,” says Sherry. She loved her rotation during nursing school on the orthopedic, medical-surgical remote telemetry floor at Geisinger in 2015. After gaining some experience, Sherry pursued and became certified as an orthopedic nurse.
UPMC Susquehanna and teaching
In 2018, Sherry moved to UPMC Susquehanna’s acute care/medical-surgical telemetry unit. “I had the opportunity to continue with orthopedics there and it seemed like a great transition as my kids were entering an age where I needed to be more present,” she says. Eventually, Sherry moved to PRN as an orthopedic specialist.
At the same time, Sherry began teaching clinicals at Bloomsburg University, her alma mater. “It’s a hands-on way to demonstrate my passion for nursing and empower tomorrow’s nurses,” she says. “When I was a student, I thought to myself, ‘I’d love to return as an instructor and become part of a great education team.’ And when I had the chance to start doing clinicals, I just fell in love with all aspects of educating future nurses.” Today, Sherry teaches full time and continues to work part time as both a med/surg nurse and certified orthopedic nurse/orthopedic nurse liaison.
American Sentinel University
Yet another big endeavor Sherry took on was returning to school. She and colleagues at Geisinger began inquiry about the possibility of graduate school in 2017 and discovered American Sentinel. “American Sentinel is just so flexible and supportive,” she says. “They made this feel like an exciting possibility, and I felt like it was a realistic option to further my career goal to become a great educator like some of the nurse educator role models that influenced me.” Sherry will finish the MSN Nursing Education in summer 2021.
Once she graduates with the MSN Nursing Education, Sherry will continue teaching as an adjunct instructor at her alma mater, while continuing to pursue a more active role in nursing education—in addition to her PRN positions.
She is also considering earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership at American Sentinel. Being in school, she says, has enriched her knowledge and contributes to achieving her role as a better educator. “I know that through this educational experience, I have become a more engaging educator, but it has also affirmed that teaching is my passion—it’s what I want to be doing,” she says. “When I am teaching, I am grateful to be part of a team that empowers future nurses through education. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to achieve graduate education goals through American Sentinel.”
Inspired by Sherry’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.
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