Bachelor's degree earned? Check. Career goal achieved? Check.
Once Allie Simonetti graduated from the online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at La Salle University, the ink on the diploma was barely dry before she landed a position in hospice home care.
"Getting the bachelor's degree paid off. Two weeks later, I had a job," she said. "Working in hospice care has felt like the ultimate goal for me. It didn't take long at all to get there."
Simonetti returned to college after a two-year break to enhance her nursing practice and increase her knowledge base after a couple of years of gaining real-world experience.
"I knew that it would expand my opportunities for work," she said. "There are so many more when you have a bachelor's degree
"I also knew that I wanted to keep learning. The more I can learn, the more perspective I get on nursing and the more I can advocate for my patients."
The online format helped Simonetti complete the bachelor's degree program in less than a year without missing a beat as an emergency room registered nurse.
"It was extremely flexible with my schedule," she said. "With COVID-19 going around, so many of the teachers were understanding. They adjusted our assignments. Any time I was nervous to reach out to them, they always supported me and were flexible."
When Simonetti was ready to choose a career path toward the end of high school, she had no doubt which direction she would take.
"Everything kept coming back to nursing," she said. "It felt like a calling to me. I wanted to do something where I was caring for people. I wanted to feel like I had a purpose with my job. I always feel that with nursing.
"I also like to care for people, be empathetic and support others. I can always put those skills to use when working with my patients."
Simonetti graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Montgomery County Community College in 2017. She took some prerequisite courses toward the RN to BSN before enrolling at La Salle, which expedited her time to completion.
"I was looking at a couple of different schools before I met with [RN to BSN program assistant director] Sheila McLaughlin," she said. "She went through the program with me and explained everything.
"She was very helpful, answered all of my questions and was responsive by email. That and the price were the main reasons I chose La Salle. I felt like they supported me. They were great."
One of the electives in the program, HSC 493: Holistic Health Approach, was Simonetti's favorite course in the curriculum.
"We talked about different ways to treat patients with holistic care in that course, which will tie a lot into my hospice care," she said. "I always felt like I wanted to go into hospice, and that was a good way to learn different techniques to help my patients with comfort care. It helped me a lot."
In fact, Simonetti applied the majority of the information that she learned in the online RN to BSN program to her former and current roles.
"I could choose projects that fit into what I was doing at work," she said. "I was able to learn more about what medications to give and how to advocate for patients.
"You could tailor the degree to where you are going in nursing, which I liked. You could pick projects that apply most to what you do."
Although Simonetti was in the program for a brief time, she had plenty of encouragement from her family and friends to help her remain focused until she reached the finish line in September 2020.
"They were excited and happy for me," she said. "They have been supportive of it all. We are planning a time to go out and celebrate now that I have finished.
"My mom helped me pick La Salle. We were doing research together, and she pointed it out to me and said they have a good program that's affordable and quick."
Simonetti herself has recommended La Salle to a number of people, too, after her own positive experience in the online RN to BSN program.
"I loved the program, and I have told a lot of people about it," she said.
As Simonetti embarks on her dream job in her hometown, she credits La Salle's online RN to BSN for guiding her to success and giving her career a boost.
"It's important to use your teachers for support — they are there to help you," she said. "The professors always got back to me quickly when I reached out to them. I felt supported by the staff and the faculty. You should use the resources because they are all great."
Simonetti, who enjoys painting and spending time outdoors, looks forward to providing quality home hospice care with the foundation of her Bachelor of Science in Nursing to solidify her experience.
"I wanted to wait to work in hospice to get into a job closer to Philly," she said. "The bachelor's degree helped me achieve that."
Learn more about La Salle's online RN to BSN program.
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