After 15 Years as LVN, Mother of Seven Pursues Her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
As a mother of seven children and with a career as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Priscilla Catingub knows more than anyone what it takes to provide extraordinary care each and every day.
“Healthcare is certainly what I am meant to do,” she said. “It is an echo of who I am in my personal life. At my core, I think I am a nurturer.”
After more than 15 years as an LVN, Priscilla decided that she could further enhance the lives of both her family and her patients by going back to school to further her education.
Priscilla 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 asked Priscilla about her experience working as an LVN as well as her transition to Chamberlain’s nursing program. Check out some of the highlights of our interview below!
What drew you to nursing?
I am fascinated by the fact that one nurse can impact so many lives. A nurse that works five days a week and takes an average of five patients a day has the potential to touch the lives of just under 40,000 people in a 30-year career.
When a person becomes a patient, they are at their most vulnerable and they need you. A person capable of maintaining their home and working full-time yesterday might suffer a stroke and need you to teach them how to brush their teeth today. An athlete who ran a marathon just one week ago might be in a car accident and now you are teaching them to walk again. Unpredictable and unfortunate things happen every day, and I want to be there to help those individuals through their time of need. It is a powerful thing to advocate for a patient, someone whom you've never met, and someone who may have no choice but to trust you.
Why did you decide to pursue your BSN after being an LVN for 15 years?
I never really intended it to take so long. But inertia has a way of creeping up on you. Day after day, I would wake up do what was needed for my family, complete my usual shift at the hospital, head home, take care of my family’s needs, and this routine would start all over the next day. Fifteen years passed in the blink of an eye, and I found myself working for the same hospital. One day at work, I looked around and found myself asking, “Why am I still here?”
It was at that time that Chamberlain came to the Sacramento region, and they took a chance on me. I had so many insecurities about how competitive I would be, especially given how much time I had been in the workforce without much progress in terms of my education. But Chamberlain was able to look past that and reassured me that I could get my BSN, that I could really do it. And it could not have happened at a better time.
What were some of the things you were nervous about in pursuing your BSN?
Being an effective student requires a lot of trust. You have to trust that your professors, clinical instructors, academic leadership, and classmates will all work with you. You have to trust that they will all put in as much effort as you will. It is a lot of control to give up. Thankfully, my trust is paying off. I feel like I am succeeding here and I have created a second family.
Who inspires you to pursue it all?
My family is my inspiration. I am fortunate to have seven selfless children and an amazing husband. Some days I feel exhausted to the point that I question how I thought I could possibly handle this. But, in those moments, my older children will help the little ones into their pajamas and tuck them away for the night, just so I can study or get a few more minutes of rest. There are other times when my husband takes the kids out - yes, all seven of them alone, just so I can catch up and get a little bit of my sanity back. My husband is a superhero, and right now, he is the life boat keeping me afloat. Their support pushes me to achieve my best, to perform to my highest potential. And I want to pay that back. I want to provide the best possible future for my children and show them that it is never too late to begin a new journey in life.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to fellow LVNs who are considering getting their BSN?
Be humble and open to change. Nursing school is completely different from the nursing school you attended to obtain your LVN. And of course…Study! Study! Study!
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