After a decade of nursing service in the EDs at two Columbus, Ohio, hospitals, Shalanda Perkins, MSNEd, RN, said she enjoyed it.
“I like the hustle and bustle,” Perkins said. “With a very rapid patient turnover, I like the challenge the patient population brings every day.”
Now a full-time instructor at Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Columbus campus, Perkins began her nursing career as an LPN before earning her RN. However, Perkins said, the real breakthrough for her came the moment she stepped up to earn her BSN. And it’s a decision she believes every RN can — and should — replicate.
One Way Up
For years, Perkins said she was passed over for promotions and other positions for one simple reason — she didn’t have a bachelor’s degree.
“For a while, I felt my RN was sufficient,” she said. “But then I realized I was being overlooked.” With this in mind, Perkins earned a BSN from Ohio University. Quickly, her career trajectory changed, as she eventually became charge nurse at the ED at Diley Ridge Medical Center in Columbus.
She said many quality nurses are holding themselves back by not pursuing a BSN. But at many hospitals, the BSN has become or is quickly becoming the new required education minimum.
Given the state of healthcare today, Perkins said nurses require more education and training to be prepared for whatever might arise. And that, she said, is particularly true of emergency nurses, who never know what might walk through the door.
“[A BSN] just gives nurses a better, more well-rounded nursing education, with the skills and the more in-depth knowledge needed to meet the needs of the population,” Perkins said.
Don’t worry. Be prepared
Nurses, and particularly emergency nurses, might wonder how they might fit more education into their already busy and hectic schedules.
Perkins wondered that, too, particularly as a nurse with a husband and a child. But she said she was surprised at how well her education meshed with her lifestyle.
“If we sat and thought about our daily schedules, we’d all go crazy,” she said. “But somehow, I never recall missing any important moments.”
She said prioritization and proper scheduling is important, as is putting a support network in place. But Perkins said all nurses should be able to find an RN-to-BSN program that fits their needs, lifestyles and schedules.
Go ahead and jump
Once the decision has been made to advance education, go ahead and do it, she said. “Now is the best time to start,” Perkins said. “The longer you ponder the decision, the more likely it is you’ll talk yourself out of it.”