Inspired by Her Community, Mental Health LVN Pursues Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Stephanie Abuissa is a student nurse on a mission to help her community.

As a second generation nurse, Stephanie was inspired by those before her to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to the people she feels need it most. Her interest in mental health nursing also comes from her experience as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) support specialist for autistic children and adults.

“I am inspired by the existing needs of mental healthcare within minority communities,” she said. “I feel that it is an honor and my social, cultural and ethical duty to assist in bridging the gaps between accessible mental health education and treatment within minority communities.”

Stephanie’s goal is to help change the conversation surrounding mental health by becoming a nursing leader and advocate. After four years as an LVN, Stephanie decided it was time to go back to school. Stephanie enrolled in Chamberlain’s 3-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which offers up to 9 proficiency credits for qualifying students with a LVN license who pass skills validation tests and proficiency exams.

We recently asked Stephanie about her experience as an LVN and her transition back to nursing school.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a wife, mother, and entrepreneur who has a passion for nursing.

I have been an LVN for nearly 4 years. I have experience working with pediatric patients in school and private settings. In the past year and a half, I have transitioned to mental health nursing. I have worked with both adolescent and adult clients with duel diagnosis, with the primary diagnosis being eating disorders. I have also gained experience working with adult clients who are detoxing and recovering from alcohol and substance abuse.

After graduating as valedictorian of my LVN cohort, I set a goal of attaining my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and I hope to continue on with the end goal to become a nurse practitioner after pursuing a master’s degree in psychiatric mental health. 

What is your favorite part about being a nurse?
I can truly say that my favorite part of being a nurse is the active role I play in each client’s journey on the path of health and wellness. I truly have a passion for assisting others in recognizing and achieving their goals in relation to mental, physical and spiritual healing. Mental health nursing, as with all facets of our profession, is a holistic art which encompasses the use of science, research and ethical reasoning.

Why did you decide to pursue your BSN after being an LPN/LVN for so long?
My love of nursing has grown exponentially during my time as a mental health nurse, and I want to work towards becoming a nurse leader within the mental healthcare community. I have the desire to use the nursing knowledge and experience I have gained as an LVN by continuing my education and becoming a baccalaureate-degreed registered nurse.

Tell us a bit about your experience with Chamberlain and getting your Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Thus far, my experience with Chamberlain has been wonderful, as I have found that “Chamberlain Care” is more than a motto. I have attended two other nursing schools, and I can honestly attest to the fact that our faculty cares about every student. At Chamberlain’s Sacramento campus, the staff has created an environment that is conducive to open and active learning and communication. I look forward to each and every interaction with Chamberlain staff, as I know that I am viewed and respected as an individual, and not just a number. This environment of care has created a campus environment that promotes cooperation and affability among students.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to fellow LVNs who are considering getting their Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
I truly believe that as LVNs, we already possess a knowledge base and skill set and only can only enrich our learning experience. I would advise any LVN who wishes to transition to a BSN program to be persistent in your efforts in applying to BSN programs.

Are you an LVN looking to take the next step in your educational journey? Read all about our 3-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and RSVP for an open house event here.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program can be found at chamberlain.edu/ge

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