Class of 2020 Success Stories: BGSU celebrates milestone of RN to BSN program
Program helps graduate Ashley Adams see ‘big picture’ in nursing
By Bob Cunningham ’18
Bowling Green State University marked a milestone on Dec. 12 when its first cohort from the RN to BSN program graduated.
Ashley Adams, who has been a nurse for six years, was one of 19 students in the first cohort. Adams grew up in nearby Helena, Ohio, and graduated from Gibsonburg High School. She said she couldn’t be happier with her experience in the program.
“I chose BGSU not only because it is a local school, but it also offered what I needed,” said Adams, who works at a long-term care facility in Fostoria. “Everyone was very easy to work with in regard to getting me registered and I was able to start almost immediately. The program is flexible, which helped fit my needs while working and raising a family.
“BGSU went above and beyond, exceeding my expectations, and I am so glad I decided to complete my BSN here. Every staff member was so warm and inviting, compassionate and knowledgeable whenever I had any questions — and that goes from administrative office to the teachers.”
RN to BSN program is flexible, convenient
BGSU’s RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in nursing) program was created for the working registered nurse to complete the BSN degree in a flexible and convenient manner. The program, which started in Fall 2019, is 100% online.
“We offer excellent faculty support for student success and allow students to design their own course assignments for meaningful learning,” said Dr. Shelly Bussard, director of the School of Nursing. “The RN to BSN program is located in the School of Nursing of the College of Health and Human Services. 2020 has been celebrated as the ‘year of the nurse,’ and what better way to celebrate nursing than through opening the School of Nursing at BGSU and graduating our first nursing cohort.”
Adams, who earned a 4.0 GPA in the program, said completing her BSN has helped her focus on what her future may hold, both academically and professionally.
“I feel that what I have learned here was far different than previous nursing classes,” said Adams, who served in the Marine Corps before she became a nurse. “It has helped me to better understand the big picture. While I have always appreciated all health care disciplines, I now feel that I have a much deeper appreciation for how we all work together to create better outcomes for patients.
“This program has also helped me to better understand diverse populations, health care disparities and social injustices. Living and working in a small town, I feel that I have been a little sheltered from these issues. This program helps me to better recognize, understand it and how I can help to combat it.
“Whether it was intended or not, I feel that this program helps me to see where I fit into nursing. When I first started nursing school, I had no medical experience and was not sure if I was 'cut out' to be a nurse or not. This program has shown me that the nursing population is just as diverse as the clients we serve, and we all bring something unique to the field and to our patients. Regardless of where we work or what we do, we all serve a purpose. Being a nurse is not about our previous work experiences or backgrounds; it's about compassionate, empathizing with complete strangers, and doing everything you can to help them succeed.”
Mentors are always an ‘email or phone call away’
Dr. Lara Wilken, RN to BSN coordinator, was a mentor Adams could count on and someone she credits as a major influence.
“If I ever had a question or concern, Lara Wilken was an email or phone call away — even if it was a weekend or late in the evening. She did not just teach classes; she took the time to get to know each of her students and what their passions and aspirations were.
“She often encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, ‘think outside the box,’ chase my interests and become active in my community. In addition, she is so transparent in her personal journey; she is inspiring and such an amazing role model. I am so happy that she has been part of my nursing journey.”
Adams said she enjoys helping others, so nursing was a natural fit for her career.
“Nursing is such a broad field and has much job security that I knew that I would have a lot of different options,” she said. “As a nurse, we see patients at all stages of life, from birth to death. We see people at their worst and most vulnerable; we get to celebrate their achievements as their health improves.
“Right now, with COVID, we are the shoulder to cry on, holding their hand and providing words of encouragement while loved ones can’t come in. Nursing is such an incredibly unique field and we have the ability to touch so many lives in a positive way.”
Adams plans to earn her graduate degree at Ohio State University with hopes of becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
“I have always been drawn to mental health and would love to become more involved in the field.”