After New Jersey resident Rebecca Ventura earned an associate degree, she focused on enrolling in an online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.
Being a maverick led to Ventura becoming a Maverick.
"A lot of the people I attended community college with were in a friendly competition to see who would finish their BSN first," Ventura said. "Instead of being like everybody and jumping on the Chamberlain University bandwagon, I wanted to look at different options. Enrolling in UTA's online RN to BSN program was one of the best things I have ever done."
After graduating from UTA in July 2017, Ventura enrolled in a Doctor of Nursing Practice hybrid program at Rutgers University. The UTA online RN to BSN program not only made graduate school possible for Ventura, it also laid a solid foundation for her career.
"If you are in the nursing field and want to work in a big Magnet hospital, they are only going to accept nurses with bachelor's degrees," she said. "I got the RN to BSN for job opportunity and because I knew I wanted an advanced degree. With only an associate degree, there was no way I could get into graduate school."
Home, Sweet Home
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Ventura moved to the United States at a young age. She graduated with an associate degree from Bergen Community College in 2014. A friend of Ventura's who was already in the UTA online RN to BSN program told her about the positive experience he had at UTA.
"I also did my own research," she said. "I spoke to some great recruiters at UTA. I was also hooked on the fact that they weren't going to charge me everything I was making so I could afford to earn a degree. Three of my other friends also graduated from UTA."
After completing the online RN to BSN program in 18 months, Ventura didn't miss a beat by enrolling in graduate school. She is on track to graduate in 2020.
"I've always wanted to be in the medical field, so I decided to try out nursing," she said. "Right now, I'm trying to finish my graduate program and see where it takes me in my nursing practice."
Ventura still has lots of support from friends and family, including her husband, Thomie, as she continues advancing her education. Her parents are especially happy.
Ventura completed the online RN to BSN program while working full-time. Eight months before starting the program, she gave birth to a daughter.
"Being a mom and working full time, I could do homework at 3 o'clock in the morning or come home at 10 o'clock at night and do it," she said. "It was very flexible. Scheduling was not much of an issue. I spent between 20-25 hours a week on school. Any downtime I had at work, I had my laptop with me and would fill it with study time."
Even though Ventura is a long way away from Texas, she found that the online experience included ample communication and interaction.
"Any time I had questions or needed help with assignments, I didn't have any problems getting in touch with professors," she said. "It's also a requirement to log on at least once a week and respond to your classmates on the discussion boards."
That experience helped Ventura navigate the program and remains valuable.
"It was a good base for my graduate program because we do the exact same thing," she said. "I was already used to it, as opposed to some other people who weren't used to it and struggled a little bit more."
The nursing course Ventura enjoyed most was NURS 4325: Nursing Research because research is such a large component of graduate school. However, Ventura also loved a general education course, ART 1301: Art Appreciation.
"One of the assignments in the art course was to take a bar of soap and carve it into something," she said. "I had a really great time making that. I really enjoyed most of the nursing courses, but the research course was the most helpful."
Although Ventura is earning a DNP, she believes her degree from UTA made her a better nurse. She is currently working as an RN in Springfield, New Jersey.
"The RN to BSN program expanded my knowledge," she said. "It definitely helps create opportunities for nurses -- especially ones who want to work for a Magnet hospital. I got good value from the RN to BSN program at UTA."
Ventura didn't make the trip for graduation day, but she plans to come to Texas and visit her alma mater once she is out of school. Ventura is happy she didn't fall into line with her associate degree classmates and explored different options for a bachelor's degree.
"You should always do it for yourself and be true to what you want," she said. "As long as you know what you want, the UTA online program will give that to you. You have to make the most of the content that's provided. Don't stress so much about the fine little details and try to get the whole picture."
Spoken like a true Maverick.
Learn more about the UTA online RN to BSN program.
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