All nurses have their own reasons for wanting to go into the field. For Sarah Wright, BSN, RN, a recent alumna of Duquesne’s accelerated Second Degree BSN program, it was witnessing the care given to her grandparents when she was very young. “I observed and honored the care my grandparents received,” shares Sarah. “I would like to give back to my community and be able to support others and their families by delivering the best holistic care.”
Prior to enrolling at Duquesne, Sarah earned her first Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with minors in Estudios Hispanicos and Public Health, in 2019 from St. Lawrence University, which is located in Canton, NY. And, she had previous health care experience. Her desire to help others had led to her working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) on a medical surgery floor at Canton Potsdam Hospital, as a patient care technician (PCT) in Highland Hospital’s Emergency Department, and as a hospice volunteer for Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley.
Sarah, who is from upstate New York, chose Duquesne’s Second Degree program because of its short 12-month duration and its urban location. She also felt its small knit community of both professors and class size was ideal for her individual learning style.
Sarah enrolled in Duquesne’s Second Degree BSN program’s 12-month track in Fall 2019. Her typical week would consist of three to four days of classes and one to two days of clinical training. It was rigorous, but Sarah felt well supported throughout the program.
“The professors were always available to meet for office hours in order to clarify information,” Sarah says. “The director of the program and professor, Amber Kolesar, was incredibly helpful and understanding of my learning style. She worked hard to give us tips and tricks to remember key nursing knowledge that I still use in my job today.”
In-person office hours, classes, and clinicals abruptly vanished in March 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming increasingly rampant, Duquesne University transitioned to all online learning. This meant that clinicals had to also go virtual. Online clinicals included simulations, case studies, written assignments and Zoom conversations.
“It was difficult to adjust to at first, but the faculty worked hard to prepare us for the NCLEX [exam],” says Sarah. “I did feel prepared after graduating, and of course, the nurse residency program I am currently in definitely helped the transition from online clinicals to 40+ hour weeks as a new RN.”
When classes went virtual, Sarah moved back home to New York and quickly went to work in her community. She applied to and was hired back into her previous role as a PCT in the emergency department, where she helped triage and care for COVID-19 patients.
During this time, she also continued her studies, and Sarah graduated—with cum laude honors—on time in the Summer of 2020.
“I highly recommend enrolling in Duquesne’s accelerated second degree nursing program because you receive the most relevant information needed for the NCLEX in just 12 or 16 months,” says Sarah. “By completing this BSN degree in such a concise time frame, I was able to sit for the NCLEX exam and begin working as a nurse promptly.”
Sarah is currently a registered nurse at Highland Hospital’s Emergency Department. She is working on her international certification to become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for adults and adolescents (SANE-A) through Duquesne University’s SANE-A program.