Lifelong nurse achieves dream of earning bachelor’s degree through BGSU RN to BSN program
Estimated Reading Time:
Laura Bogard ‘22 found the courage to enroll after more than 30 years as a nurse
By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07
Even with decades of experience as a nurse and retirement nearing, Laura Bogard ‘22 couldn’t let go of a feeling that had been weighing on her for more than 20 years: She never earned a bachelor’s degree.
Between raising a family and working full time, Bogard occasionally took classes but said she struggled to find the courage to fully commit to a program.
Then, she met Dr. Lara Wilken, Bowling Green State University RN to BSN program coordinator, and everything changed.
“Dr. Wilken helped me find the confidence to know that this was something I could do,” Bogard said.
BGSU began its fully online RN to BSN program in the School of Nursing in 2019 in response to workforce demands and to provide working nurses with the flexibility to continue their education.
The program is designed to improve leadership and clinical judgment skills and also emphasizes evidence-based practice.
Registered nurses, already trained and knowledgeable in the clinical aspects of the job, learn the rationale of those decisions, which is proven to improve patient care and outcomes.
Bogard completed the program in 2022, walking away with more than a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
The program reignited her love of learning and helped her uncover a passion for teaching, which she’s now fulfilling in a new role at the BGSU School of Nursing.
One day a week, Bogard works in the state-of-the-art skills lab in Central Hall, helping answer students’ questions and assisting them with nursing skills such as inserting IVs or taking blood pressure.
“I loved every single minute of the online program. I learned so much about the history of nursing, leadership and other aspects that I wasn’t interested in before. I am so excited to impart my knowledge to students and give back to the program that gave so much to me,” she said. "I’m honored to be on this team at BGSU."
Wilken said an experienced nurse like Bogard enrolling in the program underscores the value it provides students.
“Even with more than 30 years of experience in nursing, Laura was open and excited about learning from us. I think that speaks volumes about what our program offers students,” Wilken said. “Laura was a phenomenal student. She was so excited and grateful for all she was learning.”
Bogard works full time as a public health educator and nurse at Sandusky County Public Health in Fremont. She said she has used her newly expanded knowledge of evidence-based practice to help determine strategies and programs to create healthier communities.
“Taking the class on evidence–based practice really helped me understand how to review and assess the latest research,” Bogard said. “Rather than only providing educational materials on nutrition and the importance of healthy eating to individuals, I work with communities to plan and make sustainable changes, such as implementing a community garden where people can access healthy and affordable foods.
“These strategies have been studied and proven to help increase the health of communities.”
Inspired by her experience in the BGSU RN to BSN program, Bogard plans to pursue a master’s degree in nursing.
“I really thought all I needed was to get my bachelor’s degree, and then I could check it off my bucket list,” she said. “But after a couple of months, I yearned to be in a class.
“Becoming a nursing instructor or educator is something I never thought I would do. It’s exciting to continue this journey that started with my decision to enroll at BGSU.”
Updated: 11/07/2023 01:21PM