Program Type/Area of Study: Masters of Science Degree – Nursing Administration
MOS: Combat Engineer (12B), Medic (68W), Nurse (66H current)
Tell us about yourself:
I am married to my true love, Jennifer, of 21 years and have three awesome children of which two are currently attending Universities, and my youngest is a junior in high school. I am a person of many hats as I currently work full time as a Hospital Supervisor and a Training Officer for an Army Reserve Medical Detachment. In between work and the Army, I am working on my MSN degree from Liberty University and enjoy spending quality time with my family.
What prompted you to return to school?
Having an understanding of the importance of an advanced education, especially in the field of Nursing Administration, was one of the major reasons that guided me back to school. There are many other reasons that prompted me to seek an advanced degree, such as to assist me with my military and nursing professional career. I also appreciated the fact that going back to school sets a good example and role model for others to follow. My children often compliment me on my good work and appreciate my continued desire to want more for myself.
Why did you choose Liberty?
Instead of me choosing Liberty, I feel that Liberty chose me. But if I had to choose one single reason why Liberty chose me, I would have to say it’s the love and support they show to Soldiers. I found the entire process from applying for admission to applying for graduation an uncomplicated process. The staff in the military affairs office really went out of their way to make sure my educational needs were met. Actually, during an interview, the military affairs representatives introduced me to the Hero Fund Scholarship process and gave me the contact information so I could apply. Receiving the HFS is a God send, and thanks to their support my dreams of completing my MSN degree are coming true.
What military education benefits, such as the GI Bill, did you use?
I used the Chapter 33 version of the G.I. Bill, which I transferred to from the Reserve G.I. Bill. I had about 2 years left of coverage after my initial college experience back in the 1990’s. I ended up using the benefits all the way through a Master of Arts degree and only came out of pocket for part of my books each sub-term and $500 total in my last sub-term. Liberty gives a substantial discount to military/veteran students and also gives the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship to cover the tuition amount that is not covered by the G.I. Bill. I was blessed to not have student loans accumulating while I was attending.
What has your experience been like as a student?
Fortunately, in my current position in the hospital, it is a requirement to have a bachelor degree in Nursing. This prompted me to return to school to obtain my bachelor degree as a non-traditional student. I was hesitant at first but with positive reinforcement from God, my family, and co-workers, I was able to achieve this goal in under two years’ time. Knowing the importance of education and career advancements, I immediately begin reviewing my aspirations in achieving an advanced degree in nursing in order to climb the career progression ladder within my hospital. Not having the funds to continue the course in the university in which I obtained my BSN degree, I started looking at other options. I was introduced to Liberty University by a co-worker and immediately sought advice from their military affairs office.
Did you have any troubles adjusting to college?
I will admit that going back to college was challenging. But fortunately Liberty’s MSN program was exclusively online and integrated well with my other obligations.
Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student?
I agree whole heartedly that my military experience has made me a better student. The discipline and perseverance that I gained as a Soldier, as a leader, has helped me to work through the toughest assignments.
What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?
Make sure to get ALL of your prior completed college units and military transcripts to the University. Liberty actually turns the military transcripts into corresponding course credits. When I transferred my SMART transcript to my local junior college, they didn’t accept certain experience and the rest was turned into G.E. credits and lumped together. All this did was give me an abundance of non-major related units and force me to still take all of the required courses for that particular major. Don’t underestimate yourself and the experience you bring to each class interaction. We are trained leaders and managers along with the specialized training for our jobs. That leadership experience will help drive your commitment to completing your courses as well as give you credibility in the courses you are taking.