Alumna Spotlight: My Experience as a BSN Student
Whether you recently became an RN or have been one for a while, the thought of going back to school for your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree has probably crossed your mind. For Urmila Harold, a graduate from Chamberlain’s RN to BSN Online Degree Completion Option, advancing her education was more than a thought, it was her dream. Through her hard work and motivation to enhance her career, she overcame the challenges of acclimating to a new country, learning the ropes of a new job and navigating a new school system to achieve her goal of earning a BSN.
Urmila moved to the United States from India in 2005 and began working as an RN at a local hospital in Independence, Missouri. Passionate about caring for patients and eager to learn more, she soon decided to advance her education and earn her BSN. We chatted with her recently to learn about her experience at Chamberlain and share her inspirational story.
What was your experience like starting school in a new country?
I knew I wanted to advance my education and grow my career, so I started applying to a few schools. Being a student from India, I was really nervous and worried about understanding the curriculum, especially online. I felt I would really need extra support throughout my program and that’s exactly what I received at Chamberlain. Starting school was definitely scary, but looking back, there was never a time I felt bad about school. All the faculty were really wonderful throughout my educational experience. I even had great interactions with admissions, student services and financial services - everyone was so willing to help me as I navigated a brand new system. They were all so flexible with my schedule, which was important since I was working. After a couple weeks of class, I soon realized that there is nothing better than an online program and all my worries went away. Starting school in a new country definitely started off scary, but ended up being a great experience thanks to the people that guided me through it.
What was the deciding factor when you chose to go back to school for your BSN?
The hospital where I was working was trying to get Magnet status through the Magnet Recognition Program®, which meant they needed more nurses with a BSN. Neighboring hospitals were also making a similar transition. I always knew that I wanted to get my BSN for career mobility and increased opportunities but the changes at work just expedited the process. I wanted to continue to be marketable with the ability to grow throughout my nursing career. I also wanted to learn more and become a better nurse. I had all the knowledge I needed to provide good care, but I knew there was still a lot I could learn and advance in - so I decided to go back to school.
Has earning a BSN changed your life or career =?
Once I earned my BSN, so many opportunities opened up for me at my current job. But more importantly, earning a BSN changed my life because it gave me the confidence that I never had before. Coming from India and being able to go through the program successfully, I was so proud of myself. I felt if I could do this and do it well, I could do anything. This mentality has positively impacted all aspects of my life. Specifically, my newfound confidence drastically improved my patient care because I was able to communicate and connect with patients better than before. Another way my confidence shaped my career (and continues to do so) is that I got more involved at my hospital. I joined more committees and groups that have provided me the opportunity to be more involved within my community and have given me a sense of belonging.
Out of all the schools you could have gone to, how did you choose Chamberlain?
I wouldn’t say I chose Chamberlain, but rather Chamberlain chose me. I personally had no idea which schools were good coming from India. I had applied to a few different schools and Chamberlain was the first one to contact me and made a huge impression. As I started talking to them, they were so involved and engaged. After my first conversation with Chamberlain, two to three other schools contacted me, but how they were interacting with me was so different. With my background in India, it was hard for me to understand the admissions and enrollment process in a new country. The other schools just told me what to do and what to fill out. But Chamberlain walked me through the entire process and the application word by word - I felt cared about and cared for. I later learned about Chamberlain Care® and I can say without a doubt, I felt it throughout my time at Chamberlain – from the very first day.
If you could give advice to RNs considering a BSN what would it be?
I would tell them to figure out their dreams and go make them happen. Going back to school gives you confidence and that is something that will really change your life. Don’t let reservations hold you back because if you commit to a goal you can make it happen.
Chamberlain’s RN to BSN Online Degree Completion Option offers 100% online coursework, allowing you to fit school into your busy life. If you are a registered nurse and are looking to earn your BSN, check it out today.