June 20, 2017 12:00AM
Accepted into Pittsburg State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, Byler is now pursing her third nursing degree from Pittsburg State.
“My long term goal is to teach,” Byler said. “In order to do that well, I need to earn the terminal practice degree in the profession which is now offered at Pitt State. I’m happy I get to stay at my alma mater.”
Byler, a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner at the Family Medical Practice in Lawrence, has come a long way from her first job as an RN on the night shift at Girard Medical Center. She credits Pittsburg State’s RN to BSN degree program with helping her grow professionally and personally.
“My initial plan was to never go back to school,” Byler said. “I was going to be an RN, have one job for the rest of my life, and be happy. But as I began to advance in my career I just thought, ‘I need to learn more. I need to keep learning.’ So I did.”
Byler chose Pittsburg State’s RN to BSN degree program because of its convenience, but quickly discovered something she never expected.
“I initially chose it because it was close and fit into my schedule,” she said. “But the faculty here are passionate about nursing. I found their passion to be contagious. Suddenly, learning wasn’t a chore, it was fun.”
The BSN degree made a big difference in Byler’s career path.
“As a BSN prepared RN, it was much easier to find a job,” Byler said. “I always had a goal of moving to Kansas City. Once I earned my BSN, I was able to get the job I wanted. And within months, I was given leadership roles. The industry now looks at the BSN as the entry level degree for nursing.”
In order to expand the RN to BSN program’s reach, Pittsburg State will, for the first time, begin offering it completely online. A welcome change from the nursing degree’s current status as a hybrid program, according to Cheryl Giefer, Director of the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing.
“As our population ages the demand for qualified nurses is becoming more intense,” Giefer said. “Working RNs generally don’t have time to travel and physically sit in a classroom. Moving the RN to BSN program online will allow RNs throughout the nation the flexibility to take classes when it fits their schedule.”
That flexibility, which is also found in the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing’s DNP program, is one of the reasons Byler finds herself back at Pittsburg State.
“The online portion is an important piece,” she said. “But, for me, the faculty are really the reason I keep coming back. I have schools much closer to me now, but I know the faculty at Pittsburg State will give me the tools I need to not only succeed in my program, but also in my career. As long as they (Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing) keep making degrees, I’ll keep coming back.”
Pittsburg State’s RN to BSN online degree program is currently accepting qualified applicants. Applicants who have already completed the required general education credits can earn their BSN degree in as little as one year. Additional details are available at www.pittstate.edu/RNtoBSN.