The statistical lifespan for a paramedic in a high call area like Hartford, Connecticut, is about three years. The stress is high, the emotional toll wears on the workers’ well-being, and the physical demand can be rigorous beyond repair.
At 50, Victoria DeNino was approaching her 22nd year as a paramedic, and she knew she was overdue for a change of direction. She understood that before long before her body would be unable to keep up with the physical challenges, and as time ticked on, she recognized she had seen enough human tragedy to last a lifetime.
Deep down, DeNino knew she had to continue her education.
“Returning to student status, working full time, and worrying about paying the bills as a single woman was daunting,” she admitted. “But I decided to apply to Goodwin University’s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program, and I set my sights on the RN-to-BSN track from the very beginning.”
An easier-than-expected transition
DeNino believed that the educational path to her new profession would be worth it, and the kindness of Goodwin’s faculty and staff reassured her of that.
“The academic advisors gave me undivided personal consultation, answered all my questions, and never treated me as if I were a bother or too needy,” DeNino detailed. “Their collective approachability eased many of my concerns.
“And the financial aid department never assumed I knew how to fill out the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA),” she continued. “The team alleviated my uncertainties about paying for school, guided me step by step, and was even willing to set up payment plans to make school fit in my budget.”
An accommodating academic experience
“I worked full-time while putting myself through the nursing program,” DeNino explained, “so I needed the availability of evening classes as well as courses on varying schedules. While enrolled, I attended clinical nursing rotations during the week, and I worked on the weekends.”
A comprehensive community
DeNino acknowledged that another plus to her Goodwin experience was the diversity of the people she encountered.
“My nursing cohort, as well as Goodwin’s overall student population, were so diverse,” she shared. “There were brand new college students, older returning students like me, and those seeking a whole new education and career change. Having classes with every gender, race, ethnicity, age, and interest group allowed for different ideas and experiences.
“I am still good friends with many of my classmates, and we consistently follow and encourage each other to try new roles, apply for promotions, and to advance our education.”
A University of unwavering support
“Goodwin is a unique higher education community,” DeNino expressed. “I stayed with the University to earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) because the faculty dedicated themselves limitlessly to student success.
“The professors I was blessed with did not view me as just another body in class but rather as an investment that reflected their dedication. Not one of my instructors ever turned me away when I needed extra help, additional clarification with a course topic, or when I wanted to spend more time in a simulation lab to better my skills.
“The educators at Goodwin always praised me and my work product. On days when I was out of sorts and not at my best, they picked up on that, asked me what was wrong; and offered suggestions on they could help me stay focused and attain my goals.
“All of my professors at Goodwin, in every discipline, were open, approachable, understanding, and very encouraging of my academic goals and career ambitions,” she stated with gratitude. “They offered endless support that was invaluable to my success.
“Several of my professors very graciously wrote letters of recommendations for me when I was seeking employment as a new nurse, and I still communicate with many of them regularly.
The benefits of the RN-to-BSN program
Working 60 hours a week while enrolled full-time attaining her bachelor’s degree, DeNino credited the convenience of the RN-to BSN program‘s virtual learning approach.
“In today’s world, working cannot stop for a class schedule, and commuting to a classroom can be inconvenient. But Goodwin’s program proved that dedicated students could achieve their objectives remotely.”
“The RN-to-BSN program prepared me with great time management skills, the ability to prioritize varied tasks, and the curriculum taught me to appreciate the critical thinking abilities needed to meet the complex needs of my patients.
“And now,” DeNino added, “having my BSN allows for limitless career opportunities.”
A school of second chances
“I am currently a Registered Nurse (RN) III in a cardiac catheterization laboratory. I love the family work environment within my unit, and I appreciate the respectful, professional working relationships I have among other nurses, doctors, and mid-level providers. I enjoy that my career challenges me every day to add to my skill set and learn more about medicine.
“The most rewarding parts of my career are the interactions with my patients and their families. As an RN in the cardiac catheterization lab, I love fixing hearts and affording my patients a new lease on life.
“Goodwin University’s nursing programs offered me the chance at a second career. The academics made me even more diligent, task-oriented, and goal-focused, and my BSN degree affords me the option to advance even further.
“I would not change a thing about my education except to start sooner! I am not done with school just yet,” she said. “I’m currently considering Goodwin’s MSN-FNP program, and I am eager for what my future holds.
“I think it’s important for prospective students, especially adult learners, to know that you are never too old to enhance your education or too busy to achieve the goals you set for yourself,” DeNino advised. “Ask questions, get the answers, develop a plan, and do not let anything or anyone derail you.
“If I can do it, anyone can.”
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Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.