Susanna Correa has a lot of higher education on the horizon, but she is enjoying the current views from the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing online program at Purdue University Northwest.
"A lot of people tell me they see that I am learning a lot," she said. "I'm able to have conversations with providers and other nurses to let them know, 'Look, this is what I've learned. This is why we should do it this way or involve more evidence-based practice or our electronic health record.'"
Correa, a site supervisor for Pediatric Health Associates in the Chicago area, plans to earn a doctorate and become a nurse practitioner specializing in pediatrics. She is on track to complete the online RN to BSN program in February 2019.
"My mom said when people asked me what I wanted to be when I was little, I always said, 'Nurse, nurse, nurse,'" she said. "I said I wanted to be a pediatric doctor for a while, but I always knew I wanted to do something in pediatrics and had a thing for the healthcare field. I like helping out kids. I was hospitalized when I was a kid, which always brought me reassurance that this is what I wanted to be."
Correa and her husband, Mario, have two children, Giselle (8) and Neymar (3). Setting an example for her kids was another motivating factor for Correa to return to school after graduating with an Associate in Applied Science in registered nursing from Waubonsee Community College in 2013.
"I'm pretty big on education," she said. "I want to show my kids that school is important. I want to become a nurse practitioner and get my doctorate. It's something I always wanted to do. My friends and family are happy and excited. My husband also sees a big difference in me."
Points of Pride
Correa decided on Purdue Northwest because of the flexibility and affordability of the online format.
"Several of my colleagues and friends who went to Waubonsee and other colleges went through this program and told me it was doable," she said. "Purdue Northwest is very easy to work with when it comes to tuition, which was also a major factor. They offer so many options. I got a lot of strong recommendations from a lot of different people."
The ability to complete schoolwork on her own schedule is ideal for Correa since she has a full-time job and two small kids.
"My schedule is pretty stable, but I have some times when it is a little bit unstable," Correa said. "Because I'm able to know the work in advance with the curriculum and the syllabus, I know what's coming and can work in advance and plan for the future. I can change my schoolwork schedule.
"If I work on the weekend, I know to do my schoolwork early in the week and get it done before the due date because I can anticipate things. I can also do things with my kids, which works very well. I'm able to balance work, life and school."
One of Correa's favorite courses in the curriculum is NUR 45100: Nursing Informatics.
"I'm kind of a techie myself, and I always push for technology improvement and updates and see the potential it has in the healthcare field -- especially in nursing," she said. "It's also something not a lot of programs have. That class brought so much information that I was able to talk with my providers and management. Now, I'm more involved with it at work. That course opened my eyes to why we need technology."
NUR 48200: Nursing Leadership and Management was another standout course.
"That course furthered my understanding and prepared me to feel confident in my role as a site supervisor for my current company and in future endeavors," Correa said. "These two classes are very important for nurses who would like to further their nursing careers and growth as leaders of the future."
North by Northwest
Although Correa isn't looking for a new job, she said she has had a few job offers contingent on her completion of the online RN to BSN program.
"Trying to learn a new job isn't something that I want to do right now," she said. "Plus, my employer saw that I was going back to school and opened a position for me as a site supervisor for the nurses at a satellite location, so the degree program has opened doors outside and inside. All of the supervisors have at least bachelor's degrees."
Education will always remain a high priority for Correa throughout her career.
"My parents are very happy I am back in school," she said. "They have it in their minds that they want me to go as far as I can, so they're waiting for me to get my doctorate."
If Correa's future higher education experience is anything like her current one at Purdue Northwest, her career goals will be well within reach.
"It's definitely doable," Correa said of the RN to BSN online program. "Coming from a fast-paced associate program, a lot of people don't want to go through that again. I talked to some nurses who said they didn't feel like they had a life then and couldn't imagine working full-time as a nurse now and doing that all over again.
"I tell them, 'No, it's doable. It's not like the associate program. They work with you. You can still work, do school and have a life. You can be with your kids and your family and have a social life.' Plus, people have noticed that there's a difference in my knowledge, which brings a lot of validation and joy to me."
Learn more about the Purdue Northwest online RN to BSN program.
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