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Colleague’s journey through the RN-BSN program enhances career, fulfills goals

Inspired by a licensed practical nurse in her family who demonstrated kindness, generosity and a willingness to help those who needed it, Charity Brees decided when she was 6 years old that she would become a nurse.

Brees attended Northwest Mississippi Community College for her associate degree in nursing and graduated in 1996. She began her nursing career at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto as a nurse intern the same year.

After working there for 10 years, Brees was promoted to head nurse at Baptist DeSoto and decided to go back to school, feeling she needed more education to effectively lead her team.

As Brees searched for a program that would fit into her work and home life, she decided on Baptist College of Health Sciences over online programs in case she had questions throughout the courses.

Baptist College’s RN-BSN program is for registered nurses who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

The one-year program includes both online and in-class courses and accommodates the working professional.

“The RN-BSN program was perfect because we were all professionals, and there was little time wasted,” said Brees. “We had our goals and were given our assignments and allowed to be professionals and complete these assignments without having our hands held. Baptist College of Health Sciences allowed us to work at our own pace and have the support we needed, when we needed it.”

General education requirements must be completed before beginning the RN-BSN courses.

“I was able to fit the courses into my life, and  the professors supported me when I needed help,” said Brees. “Going back to school after so many years was scary but Baptist made it easier to obtain my goal.”

Initially, Brees was reluctant to pursue a BSN, thinking it would not change her. However, she was able to learn more about her community’s needs and the different ways nurses affect patient care.

“We are not just ‘task’ oriented, but we can also do research and effect change for our patients to improve outcomes and work more effectively as a team,” said Brees.

Having graduated with her BSN, Brees has received opportunities that would not have been available to her with just an associate degree.

“I am able to be more effective in my role as head nurse and soon become an educator for not only our unit, but also the Baptist system,” said Brees.

At Baptist College of Health Sciences, courses in the RN-BSN program consist of about 20 nurses per class, allowing professors to spend more time with each student.

“The small class setting allowed us to have more individual attention and to ask questions in a safe, non-threatening environment,” said Brees.

Since Brees has advanced her education, she has been promoted from working nights as a charge nurse in postpartum to head nurse in the nursery and finally, to advance practice nurse for the Baptist system.

“None of this would have been possible without my education,” said Brees. “While I was happy being a bedside nurse, I am still affecting the bedside by educating nurses throughout our system to provide excellent care to all of our neonatal patients and their families. I am now touching more than just one family at a time by providing our nurses with the education to improve the care they provide to all of our patients.”

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