When Lindsey Fisher separated from the Air Force, she had a goal to become a pediatric nurse. She needed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and was taking classes to earn her RN certification when she realized that many schools offered concurrent enrollment programs. These programs allowed qualified students to earn both their RN and their BSN in a shorter time frame, often two years.
At the time, Fisher was attending College of the Albemarle, also known as COA, and that option was not available. She approached Old Dominion University's nursing program to see what could be done. She was well on her way to her RN, but there was no partnership in place to earn a BSN. Fisher said, "I knew ODU had a concurrent program and I approached them about partnering with College of the Albemarle. I was concerned about my GI Bill® expiring and paying for my BSN out of pocket. It was very important to get them both done at the same time."
So Dr. Hawkins got together with COA and they set up the program.
“Lindsey helped us initiate the concurrent enrollment program with the College of the Albemarle,” says Dr. Janice Hawkins, academic advisor with ODU’s School of Nursing. “Because of this partnership, we now have more students from COA benefiting from the program. Our concurrent enrollment program is a win-win from everyone. It works well for students, the institutions and the patients we serve. The concurrent enrollment option allows more nurses to earn their BSN faster and that contributes to better patient outcomes.
"COA is so pleased with this excellent opportunity and partnership with ODU," says Robin Harris, dean of health sciences and wellness programs at College of the Albemarle. "We are so proud of Lindsey and her hard work to attain this goal, and we look forward to many more of our Associate Degree Nursing students following in her footsteps."
Fisher graduated in two years. With two young boys at home, a husband in the military, and other obligations, attending nursing school full time wasn't always easy. But, she says, ODU made it easier than she expected.
"With kids in sports it was hard to juggle nursing school and the BSN program and family life, but the good thing about this program is that if you needed to slow down you can, and there’s no penalty," says Fisher. She also says that the online classes made it easier to fit the program into her busy life. "It was easy to access all the classes and assignments. There were lots of videos, which was very helpful because then I could replay anything I wanted, when I wanted, and not have a set aside time to sit at the computer."
For her next step, Fisher is putting her degree to work at Norfolk's prestigious Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, or CHKD, in the pediatric intensive care unit.
"I’m excited to start working at CHKD," Fisher said. "I’m really looking into ODU’s nurse practitioner program in the future."
For future nurses who want to follow in her footsteps, Fisher says it can be done: "As long as you have the determination and the willpower to do it, you can do it."
To learn more about ODU's RN to BSN and concurrent enrollment nursing program, please visit online.odu.edu/nursing.
Old Dominion University, located in the coastal city of Norfolk, is Virginia's entrepreneurial-minded doctoral research university and has been delivering distance-learning programs for 30 years. It offers more than 100 programs through ODUOnline in a variety of formats, allowing students to complete degree programs across the world. ODU serves more than 24,000 students annually by providing the same rigorous academics online and on-campus. Learn more about ODUOnline's programs by visiting online.odu.edu.
ODU is approved to offer GI Bill® educational benefits by the Virginia State Approving Agency. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill