After seven years away from nursing, Brianne Maurer is on the comeback trail after enrolling in the online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Southern Utah University.
“I became a single mom two years ago,” she said. “I haven’t been working since I started having kids. Eventually, I am going to have to go back to work.
“I’ve got my RN license, but nowadays almost everyone has their BSN degree. With my lack of experience, I felt like I had to get my BSN to make me more hirable.”
With three children — Bowen (7), Tessa (4) and Josie (2) — at home, Maurer needed an asynchronous format that would allow her to make time for schoolwork and her family.
“The online option was the only one for me,” she said. “I hadn’t been to school in a long time. There’s no way I could have gone back without it.
“Doing it online was so much better because I could work at my own pace. I could pause videos and think, as opposed to being in a classroom. The flexibility has been a lifesaver for me.”
Although Maurer had never taken any online courses prior to enrolling at SUU, she easily adjusted to a new way of learning.
“I am home with the kids by myself, so my parents were worried about how I was going to get the degree done,” she said. “They’ve been pleasantly surprised. I am not taking a full semester of 16 credits. I am going very slow, which gives me plenty of time. That’s also helpful.”
Home, Sweet Home
Maurer was born and raised in St. George, Utah, and moved back home from Iowa two years ago with her kids. She graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Dixie State University in 2007.
“My mom, Sue, was a nurse,” she said. “I was always interested in everything she was doing and had great respect for what she did when I was growing up.
“The variability of shifts was also appealing to me. Plus, there are so many different avenues you can take in nursing — you can be in a clinic, a hospital, travel or teach.”
When Maurer was doing research on online RN to BSN programs, she didn’t have to look far for SUU. She also knew that the education she would receive there would be top quality.
“I heard about the RN to BSN program at SUU through several friends who completed it,” she said. “They all loved it and said the support from the staff was helpful and appealing. That was the reason I chose it. Plus, it’s affordable.”
Since enrolling in January 2020, Maurer has had similar positive experiences in the program as a fledgling online student.
“I have been so happy with the RN to BSN program,” she said. “I am always getting emails from my teachers saying, ‘If you need any help, let me know. I will help you succeed.’
“The professors get back to me quickly any time I have a question. It’s been a supportive program for my schedule.”
So far, NURS 3141: Foundations of Professional Nursing for the RN to BSN is Maurer’s favorite course in the curriculum.
“That was one of the first courses that I took in the program,” she said. “I felt like it covered so much information and was very broad.”
Now that Maurer is on track to graduate in the fall of 2021, she looks forward to getting back to her nursing practice with a bachelor’s degree under her belt.
“I absolutely believe that this degree will help open up some opportunities for me when the time comes,” she said. “I would like to go into nursing leadership when I return to work.”
With the help and encouragement of her family and friends, Maurer is earning a degree, raising her children and enjoying the familiar territory of her hometown — all without missing a beat.
“They have all been very supportive,” she said. “For my life as a busy mom, online is the way to go. The outdoor activities in Utah are great. We are always hiking and swimming and enjoying the mountains.”
Maurer believes that the online RN to BSN program at SUU is ideal for anybody whose situation is not conducive to in-person learning. She is enjoying the brisk pace that the seven-week courses offer.
“If you are looking for a program and you have a busy schedule that’s inconsistent, this is the one you are going to want to look into,” she said. “The courses go by fast. I love that, too.
“I will be ready for leadership positions because the courses in the program have gone into a lot of detail about management and healthcare science. It’s been a great experience.”
Learn more about SUU’s online RN to BSN program.