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Commitment, Dedication and Vision Pay Major Dividends for BSN Grad

Every year, hundreds of National University students in Northern California complete their academic programs and earn a degree or credential that will propel their lives dramatically forward.

For 43 years, National has made higher education accessible for more than 140,000 people. Each graduate has their own unique success story to tell, and in advance of our Northern California commencement ceremony on April 27, we like to share some of those stories. Following is just one example of the many people who have achieved their academic goals this spring and face a brighter future because of it:

Michelle Anderson worked as a medical assistant for seven years, earning a respectable salary; but she saw a brighter future in store for herself through higher education. By earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she knew she could increase her annual income by at least 50 percent.

Choosing the course Ms. Anderson did required confidence, commitment, dedication and vision. First, she had to believe in herself. Second, once she made the decision to pursue her degree, there was no turning back. Third, she had stick to a daily routine for the long term. Finally, the nursing student had to keep it all in perspective – especially when things got tough – and see where she could be in just a few short years.

Less than three years later, Ms. Anderson has completed the BSN program at National University. She just received her diploma and will take part in commencement ceremonies in Sacramento on Sunday, April 27. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college.

“When I originally considered National University, I was really hesitant at first,” she said. “But I weighed the pros and cons, and it just made sense for me. I looked into the nursing program at Fresno State, and the tuition at National wasn’t that much more. When I considered the time to completion, I made my decision and I knew it was really going to pay off in the long run.”

Initially, the nursing student from Fresno was working seven days a week, to pay for her education. Many students and alumni will agree that simultaneously working and studying full-time is too much of a load. Because Ms. Anderson was young and single, she had to option to move back home with her parents. That was one way to cut her expenses and shift her priorities.

Because of her good academic standing, Ms. Anderson was also able to qualify for an Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development scholarship, provided she agreed to two years of service in an RN shortage area in California. “That could be in a rural or inner city area,” she says. “ My options are pretty good as far as where I can work with that scholarship. Any state hospital, any prison, or any VA hospital.” She is currently looking for an entry level position as an RN in any one of those places.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations combined. Generally, registered nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one.

Having on-the-job experience in healthcare counts too, and along with her seven years as a medical examiner, the nursing graduate has also served as a volunteer with the American Red Cross for the past two years, so her job prospects are very good.

Ms. Anderson is the first in her family to earn a college degree, so the April 27 ceremony in Sacramento is a really big deal. Her mom, dad, aunt and uncle will be attending, as well as her boyfriend and his parents. With a final Grade Point Average of 3.59, she will graduate Cum Laude and has been invited to join the Pinnacle Society, an honors organization for non-traditional students.

Although she initially wanted to work in the operating room, Ms. Anderson says she now aspires to go into obstetrics. “The first day I saw a delivery, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I Would also love to get into a children’s hospital and work with kids,” she says.