Crystal Kiel ’15

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business from Northwestern in 2007, Crystal decided to return to school for something completely different, earning an RN degree at an area community college. Now a mom of two and a part-time nurse for an Orange City ear, nose and throat doctor, she is starting to plan for taking her career to the next level—starting with earning her BSN.

What convinced you to pursue your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)?

So many new nurses are graduating with their BSN degrees that it’s hard to even get an interview for a nursing position when there are always higher-educated applicants. The competition is fierce in this region, and I’m not willing to drive an hour or more to a community where my prospects as an RN might be better. The healthcare culture is pushing nurses to get their BSN degrees, and some places won’t even hire you unless you have those three letters behind your name. Let’s face it, if three of four applicants have a BSN, and the fourth is an RN, who do you think won’t get a second look?

What has been your experience as a student in NWC’s online RN to BSN program?

I thought there might be a lot of disconnect between me and the school or professors because our communication was only online—I worried I might miss an assignment, for example. But so far there’s been a lot of easy communication and reminders about assignments through Blackboard. Most of the learning happens at home, just me and my computer and textbooks, but the professors have been very accessible and quick to respond to my questions. I can definitely tell my nursing professors want to help me succeed!

How does earning your degree online fit your life?

My primary “occupation” is being a wife and mom. Going to school online gives me the freedom to focus on my career and my family at the same time. I do the majority of my school work during the kids’ naps and after they go to bed. In addition, after I’ve been with the kids all day, my husband takes over when he gets home, so I can hit the books hard then too.