Nightingale College’s learner body includes individuals from all walks of life, with different stories and backgrounds. From refugees to stay-at-home-moms, our learners, no matter what differences and experiences they bring to their cohort and the College, all have a similar passion–caring for others by becoming a nurse. The Learner Spotlight series features a learner who has overcome obstacles, experienced extenuating circumstances, followed a passion, or faced their fears to become a nurse. This edition of the Learner Spotlight shares the story of Jerica LeFevre, a St. George DDC learner who is determined to provide a better life for her and her children, no matter what life may throw at her.

Jerica LeFevre was only in her first semester of nursing school when she found out she was expecting her second child. Fueled by memories of a tough childhood and committed to finishing nursing school on time, LeFevre refused to drop out or take a leave of absence for her pregnancy and delivery. And although it was one of the hardest things she’s ever done, she’s excited to be finishing nursing school and graduating with the January 2019 cohort.

LeFevre has had a very trying journey through nursing school. Having a baby in the middle of nursing school has not been a walk in the park, as you can probably imagine! But LeFevre said she believes that sticking with nursing school all the way through was worth it.

“If I had to do it over I would still do it,” she said. “It wasn’t the easiest thing…but I think at the end of it, it’s going to be worth it.”

LeFevre had worked as a CNA for seven years before starting nursing school, and it was that position that led her to fall in love with the nursing profession. A sudden divorce sparked her interest in pursuing her RN. After she realized she needed a stable career to provide for herself and her 3-year-old, she kicked herself into gear, searching for a program with no waitlist that would admit her immediately and allow her to become a nurse quickly. She chose Nightingale College, and we’re so glad she did.

Caring for her son was at the forefront of her mind as LeFevre started nursing school at Nightingale College. She wanted to ensure that the life of her son would not reflect her own troubled childhood. “My mom was heavily into drugs, and my siblings and I were separated at a young age because of it. I ended up growing up with my Grandma,” said LeFevre. “Seeing how my mom has struggled with being a low-income single mom, struggling with finances and drug addiction, I wanted as far away from that life as possible.”

Nursing school is one of LeFevre’s ways of doing that, but only one semester in to Nightingale’s ADN Program, LeFevre found out she was expecting. Now, on top of being a full-time mom to a busy five year old, LeFevre had to make arrangements for her little girl to be brought into the world. “I already promised myself that I wasn’t going to stop no matter what happened,” she said.

Although she was committed to finishing, that didn’t stop her from worrying how the situation would pan out. “I was a little freaked out about how it was going to happen, especially the second semester when she was due,” she said.

Immediately, LeFevre started planning. Her plan was to have the baby on a Friday, and then go back to school the next Tuesday, only 11 days later. LeFevre planned on having a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC), making the recovery time shorter and allowing her to return to school and work assignments as soon as possible. With this schedule, she would only need to be absent from school for one week, and her instructors understood she was delivering, so they approved the absences.

But unfortunately, when the time came, things didn’t exactly go as planned for the birth of her little girl; LeFevre ended up having a repeat c-section. The recovery time for a c-section is much longer than a vaginal birth, with the recommended rest time being up to six weeks. But after only 11 days, LeFevre had to be back on her feet at work and school, and it was not easy for her.

To make it worse, LeFevre had to drive from her home in Las Vegas to her experiential learning sites in St. George. “That was, I think, the worst part on me because I would get home and my stomach would be sore from driving, and trying to stabilize my body with my abdominal muscles,” she said.

Why did she go through all this pain? She could have taken a leave of absence. She could have dropped out or given up. But she relentlessly pushed towards graduation. “I was worried that if I took any time off that I would just continue to take time off,” she said. “Thinking about how hard I’ve struggled, not even just my adult life, but how I struggled living as a child–not having a good income or a good life–I wanted better, looking towards the future.”

During the hard times, LeFevre would think about how far she had already come and how many people she was proving wrong just being at college, and that encouraged her to keep going.

LeFevre had already been enrolled in another college and was completing pre-reqs one at a time, but when life threw a wrench in her plans, she needed to become a nurse fast. The school she was previously attending told her she would be waitlisted for the start of the nursing program. She is now ahead of the game due to her choice to go to Nightingale College. “I started a semester earlier, and because of it being accelerated I’m going to finish a whole year sooner,” she said.

Now that she’s finishing and ready to graduate as a nurse, LeFevre looks forward to providing a healthy, stable life for her children. She looks forward to taking them to Disneyland and not having to budget so tightly for food, clothes, and toys.

She explained how even her five-year-old son is excited for her to graduate, because he knows that their life will be improved. She related how once, when they were driving, her son noticed a jungle gym in someone’s backyard and said he wanted one. After LeFevre explained they didn’t have space as they lived in an apartment, LeFevre related that her 5-year-old son said “I know, but soon you’re going to be done with school and things are going to be better.”

LeFevre will graduate in the Winter 2019 graduating cohort on January 4, 2019, as a nurse. She wanted to express her thanks to her Grandma and to her friends that helped support her through the hard times. “The support I get from my friends and my little tiny family is what keeps me going,” she said.

We hope that LeFevre has felt the support of the faculty and staff at Nightingale College, because her story of rising up, thinking for the future, and perseverance when others would have given up has inspired us, more than we can say.

Nightingale College’s learner body includes individuals from all walks of life, with different stories and backgrounds. From refugees to stay-at-home-moms, our learners, no matter what differences and experiences they bring to their cohort and the College, all have a similar passion: caring for others by becoming a nurse. The Learner Spotlight series features a learner who has overcome obstacles, experienced extenuating circumstances, followed a passion, or faced their fears to become a nurse. This edition of the Learner Spotlight shares the story of Tiffanee Cravens, a St. George learner whose dream to be a life-flight nurse was formed years ago after flight nurses saved her mother’s life.

Tifanee Cravens hung up the phone after a cheery afternoon chat with her mother. It was 2010, and although Cravens lived in Oregon, a few states away from her mother in rural Utah, she and her mother were in close contact. Cravens was expecting her first child, and she treasured the support from her mom.

Cravens worked as a bookkeeper for a small business. Between the work and preparing for a baby, she was pretty busy, but still took time to connect with her parents. It wasn’t unusual, then, when just a few hours after talking with her mom, her dad called her as well. She picked up the phone, and then her heart sank to her gut as her dad informed her that her mother had suffered a stroke and was being life-flighted to a hospital.

Now, nine years after the incident, Cravens is graduating from Nightingale College’s ADN program with the Fall 2018 cohort, with plans to become a flight nurse herself. She looks back on that Tiffanee Cravens in scrubscall with her dad as a moment that would change the trajectory of her life forever.

When she first heard the terrible news, Cravens couldn’t believe it. She had been on the phone with her mom just a few hours before. “It was probably the most horrible feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Cravens said. She immediately booked a flight to Utah, but was understandably filled with apprehension. “I wasn’t sure what I was walking into,” she said. “I didn’t know if my mom would be alive. I didn’t know how my family would react.”

When she arrived, however, all nervousness melted away. “I got there and I was able to just be really calm, and I was able to be strong for my brother and my dad. I just wanted to find out what was going on with my mom, and I wanted to be there to help take care of my family,” she said. Later, she would remember how calm she felt, and it would have weight in her decision to join the medical field.

Luckily, her mom was pulling through and in the care of dedicated doctors when she arrived. As she anxiously waited to hear more news on her condition, she sought out the flight nurses who had taken care of her mom. “I was just very grateful. I had an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation for them,” Cravens said. “Even more so now, because I have a better understanding of what was going on, and I’m just thankful for the knowledge that they had that saved her. She was not a simple patient. She had a lot of complications.”

The diagnosis came in: her mom had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, meaning one or more blood vessels in the brain had ruptured, causing bleeding in the brain. She survived, but she lost sight in one of her eyes, suffers memory deficits, and underwent a personality change. The change was hard for Cravens, who essentially lost the person she knew as her mom. “It was really emotional for me. I was fairly close with my mom and it hit me hard, being pregnant, and knowing that my mom would never really know my children.”

Tiffanee Cravens with a stethoscopeHer mother was in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit for over two months. Cravens stayed with her mom for much of the time. During this time, Cravens spoke with the nurses who took care of her mom. She had a strong desire to help people, as they were doing for her mom.

Cravens’ mother came home, but she was never the same. The role of caretaker fell to Cravens’ father. Her mother required lots of care, including help with daily care, bathing, and medications, but she could walk with a walker.

This experience with her mother sparked Cravens’ interest in the medical field, and she became a CNA in 2012. Soon after, she got her EMT certification then her paramedic license. She has now worked as a critical care tech in the ER for over four years.

She eventually moved to Utah to care for her mom, after the load became too much for her father. In fact, her father became so burnt out that Cravens was and became the only one caring for her mother, outside of some hired respite care.

Tiffanee Cravens smiles with her mom

The burden was heavy for Cravens. “It was really hard and sometimes, I honestly still struggle, with the personality change and everything. In a way I feel like my mom kind of became someone totally different. The old part of her, that I knew, is just totally gone sometimes. So it’s hard,” she said.

Cravens has been grateful for the nursing knowledge that has helped her provide her mother better care. She said that those skills have made it easier to determine the cares her mother needed. Just last year, Cravens was able to help her mother get the care she required through three medical emergencies. Her mom has now moved to a memory care unit full-time.

Now, as Cravens graduates as a nurse, she hopes that her experience with trauma, her experiences will give her a leg up on her dream of becoming a flight nurse.

“There are a lot of times that there are scary situations that can happen in nursing, especially in like the ER, or post-op, or a physical,” she said. “And even in my career already, I’ve have kind of just been able to step back and use my critical thinking and see what needs to be done for the patient and calmly talk with family. I’ve just been able to remain calm, and see a clear picture of what’s happening, and just assess everything that’s going on, from the patient, to the family, and between the doctors and my fellow nurses.”

We’re sure that it will be an absolute asset as a nurse! And while this clear mind will give her a leg up on flight nursing, her care for her mother helped Cravens become a compassionate nurse.

There are so many people who put their heart and soul into caring for others, as Tiffanee Cravens has done. We want to thank all of those nurses and caretakers who exercise patience, extend love, and exemplify the values of Florence Nightingale.

As Tiffanee Cravens looks forward to becoming a registered nurse, she plans on continuing to visit her mom as well as continuing to love and serve her husband and six children. As a fun side note, Cravens’ husband works as a helicopter medic for search and rescue! Once Cravens becomes a flight nurse, they’ll sure be a pair.

We wish her the best on her career adventures. Keep your eyes to the sky for her life flight chopper. FLAME FORWARD!

Have you ever done so much at once that you felt like you couldn’t even function anymore, suffering from nursing school burnout? Well, we’ve all been there. Working super hard and trying to do every task at once is not the best way to be productive. In fact, it is more likely you will end up burning yourself out quickly if your attention is spread too thin.

In nursing school, there is a lot of memorizing, client care, reading and practical skills. Add that to an entire life with family, a social life, work and other responsibilities, and it can get overwhelming. Learners sometimes just want to get everything done as quickly as possible then end up wanting to give up.

How can you manage your life, family, maybe even a job, and avoid nursing learner burnout? Here are our top 6 tips to help you divide nursing school in to conquerable tasks.

1. Adjust your expectations

It is sometimes hard to really understand how much time goes into nursing school. You don’t get that coveted RN title behind your name without hard work and persistence. Start now by adjusting your expectations regarding the amount of time necessary to succeed.

Make sure you’re devoting enough time for your studies. Having little time to study can cause stress, and make those precious hours fly by even quicker. Knowing you have enough time to succeed will help ease your mind and allow you to learn effectively. Adjusting your expectations will also help you avoid burnout since you’ll be prepared with the right mindset for nursing school.

Using a planner schedule your days is a great way to ensure you are fully prepared to put in the required work.

Preparation is another important step to success, and being a nursing learner requires lots of it. Prepare the week ahead of you. Plan the days you are going to study for tests and the days you are going to complete the necessary assignments. Many learners find it helpful to assign days to each class; Monday you work on math, Tuesday anatomy, and so on. Others find they retain more if they review the material frequently, which means that they will study each subject for one hour each night. Find what works best for you!

If possible, think about the option of not working and getting a loan for nursing school, or at least cutting down your working hours so you can have more time and the ability to focus 100% on your studies.

2. Pick the right nursing field

Are you in the right field? Is it what you really like to do? Or do you wake up every morning thinking how much you wish you could change your career? When you are able to do something you are passionate about, nursing school burnout isn’t as common among those who are not very aligned with the requirements of their position.

Take some time to reflect and ask yourself if you are pursuing the right career. It is important to make sure to figure out which field you like the best, so you can be sure you’re on the right path. When you ask these questions and you find that the answer is no, that you’re not pursuing the correct career, ask yourself why. Is it the stress, the emotional fatigue, or dealing with people that worries you?

In nursing, there are so many specialties you can choose from, each vastly different. Maybe you don’t have enough emotional stamina to handle trauma cases in the ER, but maybe you could work in geriatrics or physical therapy, or something else with a slower pace. Figure out which one you like the most and go into it to pursue the career that you love, and that will be a good fit for your personality.

3. Pick the program best suited to you (ADN vs BSN)

Nursing learner burnout can be caused by choosing the wrong program. Are you looking to get done fast, but the accelerated pace is burning you out? Or are you finding the advanced concepts of a higher degree too much for your brain to handle? Here at Nightingale, we offer an ADN Program and a BDN Program. An Associates Degree in Nursing is an intensive course that takes less time than the Bachelor’s Degree, but it is becoming more difficult to find an entry-level RN position that doesn’t require a BSN degree. However, you can complete an RN-to-BSN Program after you graduate if you decide to enroll in an ADN Program.

ADN Program

At Nightingale College, the Associate Degree Nursing Program is 20 months, including prerequisites. This means that for 20 months, you’re living and breathing nursing school and nothing else. This program can be overwhelming for some. It requires full focus. It’s easier to fall behind and get burnt out in nursing school if you’re enrolled in an accelerated program.

BDN Program

The Bachelor Degree in Nursing takes more time, 32 months including prerequisites, but it will secure your nursing future and open many more opportunities to nursing careers that require a BSN. The pace in a Bachelor’s Degree Nursing Program also tends to be slightly more relaxed.

Online nursing school vs. on-ground

Also, consider if the program is online or on-ground and how this coincides with your learning style and life situation.

At Nightingale, we offer hybrid-online nursing programs, with classwork online and experiential learning on-ground. Deciding which program is the best for you can make a huge difference. Take a moment to talk to one of your admissions advisors, professors or counselors to give you advice on what would be the best for you so you don’t end up in the throes of nursing school burnout. Click here to request an appointment with an admissions advisor.

4. Nursing school friends are burnout fire extinguishers

You will make some of the best friends you ever have in nursing school. Friends that understand the craziness of nursing school can keep you sane and prevent burnout in nursing school. No one else can better understand the frustrating schedule changes, the early mornings, the demanding classes, and the unique challenges that rear their heads in nursing school. If you need help with your studies, someone to cry with, a ride, a word of encouragement, a smile, a drink, or a friend, your nursing cohort will be some of your most supportive allies. Simply knowing you’re not alone can do wonderful things for your sanity.

Having trouble making friends? Maybe you don’t get along with people in your cohort or you feel that you can’t break into a click or clique. Some ideas to try are offering rides, bringing treats to share with the cohort, organizing study groups, encouraging others, and the biggest one, listening! Listen to others’ needs and you’ll soon find a friend.

5. Nursing school burnout resources

Did you ever think about all the resources already in place that help you to avoid burnout in nursing school? Many schools offer amazing resources for their learners. Research what your school offers, be it a librarian to help you research, a success coach, a mentor, career advice, counseling, extra tutoring, or office hours with a professor.

An amazing resource that we offer at Nightingale College is Learner Advising and Life Resources. Contacting us, you can get advice on time management, study skills, course load, text anxiety and studying with ADHD. We also provide information about safety and security, housing, commuter services, child care services, money management, veterans support, accessibility, counseling and human development, career and LGBTQ resources.

Utilize the resources available to you as a learner to avoid and prevent burnout. You can learn more about Nightingale College resources here.

6. Take time for self-care

Treat yourself! Take a day off, get a family member to babysit the kids, go to your favorite restaurant, or even get a maid for a day. You need some time to relax and get your mind away from books and assignments.

This is an essential step to get through nursing school without experiencing nursing learner burnout. Your health is one of the most important things you have and as a future RN, you will be an advocate for self-care and healthy well being. What would a nurse tell you about how you’re taking care of yourself? Would they tell you, or would YOU tell you, to eat breakfast more than once a week, prepare healthier snacks, and not drink 6 energy drinks a day? Think about what you can do to take care of yourself a little more.

Nursing school is not easy, and there will be days where you feel like you want to quit, but we hope these tips will help you push through to graduation. The world is in desperate need of registered nurses. We’re proud of you for answering the call. You can make it, and you will make a great nurse!


Just to refresh, the top 6 tips are:

1. Adjust your expectations

2. Pick the right nursing field

3. Pick the program best suited to you (ADN vs BSN)

4. Cling to your cohort

5. Utilize every resource available

6. Take time for self-care

Everyone knows how hard nursing school is. You basically stop having a social life and start giving all of yourself to your education to really ace nursing school, and sometimes this can be very challenging. You feel tired, have a lot to do in the house and still need to go to work. How are you going to pull this off? It won’t be easy, so here are a few tips on how to get good grades in nursing school.


First things first, start by planning. In any nursing program, be it ADN, BDN, or RN-to-BSN, you’re going to be short on time. If you’re wondering how you’re ever going to pull off graduating from nursing school successfully, grab a planner, a journal, a big chalk board, or even a simple sheet of paper. Start writing down all the things you need to do the following week and make a weekly calendar. Schedule from the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep, and stick to it. Don’t forget to plan breaks throughout the day so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Our recommendation is to dedicate at least four hours a day to studying to really learn and understand concepts and skills.

red appleKeeping Up Your Health

Good health includes physical, mental and emotional health. All of these are essential to acing not only nursing school, but life. Many nursing learners live off coffee and redbull, but this leads to poor health. Use meal-prep strategies to help save time during your busy week. Maintaining a healthy diet and staying active throughout the day will make all the difference.

Remember those four hours of studying you’re supposed to be doing? Every hour, get up from your desk and walk around the house, or run up and down the stairs a few times. This will help get the blood flowing, think clearer, and help you get through nursing school successfully. Now, let’s chat about mental and emotional well being. It can be hard for some people. Everyone needs some time for themselves, to reconnect their mind with their body. Take some time during the week to do some meditation, yoga, or even read a book that you like.

Studying in Groups group of people studying

Some people can be more productive being alone, others do better in groups. We can always use a little help from each other, right? Having someone to review the subjects with and practice the traditional question-and-answer exercise can help some learners grasp difficult concepts and skills. However, it is important to note that not all learners work well in a study group environment, so if it’s not working, do what YOU need to do to ace nursing school.

It is important to understand your specific learning style. It may take a bit of time to find your best learning style. If you struggle with ADHD, read this blog.

Wanting to ace nursing school = loving to study

Are you wondering how to get better grades in nursing school? You may think you know something 100%, and then take that test to realize that you should have studied more. How do you know when you’re prepared for a test in nursing school? Before, it was so easy! You don’t have to be in nursing school long to realize that keeping your good grades might be more difficult than you found it before. So, keep studying, triple check and meet one more time with your study group. Re-read, write down, complete all exercises and even find outside sources to test your knowledge level. Work hard and be proud of yourself for accomplishing your study goals. Getting ahead is not easy, if you want to ace nursing school, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.

Preparing for nursing school? Speak with our admissions advisors about best practices for nursing learners.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

If you’re struggling, reach out to a counselor at the school. Talk to your professors. Talk to your work and be transparent about your capacity levels. This will help reduce stress and help you get ahead in studying for nursing school.

image of a nurse helping a child with a quote

Act with love

Nursing is all about love.  John Ruskin said, “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” Dealing with patients, understanding their needs and taking care of people should all come from the heart. Our three guiding principles here at Nightingale are Confidence, Competence, and Compassion. When we act in love, we serve a hundred times better, and believe us, the difference is easy to notice.

Everyone has a different style of learning and studying, so find yours, adapt these nursing school study tips to your daily life, keep a good health and rock-and-roll through nursing school. Remember that you can do it! Keep positive thoughts on top, and don’t give up. Nurses change the world and can make a huge impact in people’s lives, and we want to help you ace nursing school in any way we can. Reach out to Learner Services if you need more help!

We hope you enjoyed this blog on how you can ace nursing school. Up Next: Become more focused to become more productive: Productivity distractions

Can you be a parent and in nursing school at the same time? Well, mom and dads, there is good news for you: Many successful nursing students and graduate nurses are invested parents, juggling a job and family skillfully and successfully.

Nursing school is not easy, as you’ve probably heard. It requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication to stay on top of your classes and carve out set time for studying. You’ve probably researched how many hours of study it takes and worry that you won’t see your kids very much. Your next question may just very well be whether nursing school and pursuing your passion of becoming a nurse is worth it.

Is becoming an RN worth missing out on some big moments in your kid’s life? Is nursing worth missing your ten-year-old’s soccer game and being deemed (for the meantime at least) “the WORST mom/dad EVER?” Is nursing worth putting your baby to bed then staying up for three more hours to study before finally falling asleep in the early morning hours?

According to our learners and graduates who are parents, the answer is a resounding YES!

There will be times you can cuddle your babies, and times where you need to study. It’s a give and take. You will still be their parent. You will still love them, and they will still love you. Not only that, in 20 months (for our ADN program) or 32 months (for our BDN program) you will be the “BEST mom/dad EVER” when you can spend time with them and put a roof over their heads and food on the table – because you are a registered nurse.  


Our current learners who are parents provided a few tips to keep in mind.


Build a support system

Having a support system is crucial to completing the program and should be in place even before starting school. You need people who will make you dinner in a crunch, who will drive your kid to soccer practice because you have a clinical, and who will support you when you need to study.

Stephanie Ray, a learner in our ADN Program, said, “I have 5 kids (kudos to you other mommies with kids!) and travelled the entire time 3.5 hours from my town in NV to the St. George DDC. And worked full time. A support system is your best bet. Mom, friends, hubby, etc.”

Jerica LeFevre, another learner in our ADN Program, seconded saying, “It’s stressful. I have great support that peps me up when I want to quit.”

Accept that there will be sacrifices

Everything comes at a price, so be prepared to make sacrifices for your education, including family time.

“Unfortunately no, you will not have every waking moment with your child especially when you have to travel,” said Ray. “My suggestion is to block out time. Get up [before your child] and study an hour or 2. Naps are your best friend! Study during naptime. Make your crockpot, Instapot, and oven your best friend, that way you can study while dinner is cooking away. After dinner, bathtime, and then bedtime stay up another hour or 2 (or longer if you can handle it).Take days off and RELAX with your family. It’s okay to take some time or you will get burnt out and have emotional breakdowns…. TRUST me I know this. Unfortunately, families have to make sacrifices.”

Billijean Osterhout, who is in the LPN advanced placement program, agreed, saying, “It’s hard. Plain and simple. You won’t see your babies A LOT! I have 4 kids and while I have the help of my husband, my kids have been in daycare more than I would have liked. My youngest was 10 months old when I started full on clinical crazy hectic schedule. I’m not going to lie, it sucks not seeing my babies…but if all goes well 2 more semesters and I’ll have my RN (I’m doing accelerated ADN as I’m a LPN). The outcome is worth it. It sucks but it’s for the best and before you know it you are a RN and able to provide more financially and time wise to your kids.”


Don’t wait

Do you really want to wait another 15 years for your kids to be out of the house before becoming an RN? You will have the same dilemma in a year or two, so start now, and you can be working as a nurse in a year or two.

“Do it while you have the chance,” said Osterhout. “It’s taken me 10 years to go from LPN to RN and I wish I would have done it sooner! Don’t be the person who thinks ‘I could have been doing this for 10 years already.’ There is ALWAYS going to be an excuse to not get it done, trust me…I made them! BUT, my excuse to go back is my kids and their future! Good luck!”

“It’s SOOOO worth it,” said Ray. “I started this journey 10 years ago doing 1-2 prerequisites at a time, and never got into a program. Dedication is the key! Otherwise you will fail. You have to want this. In a little under 2 years I am finally done.”

“Don’t wait. It’s difficult, the most difficult thing you may do, but so worth it. Just remind yourself it is for your kids too, so you can provide the life you imagine for them,” said Maranda Hammack, alumna of our ADN program. “My youngest was 2-3 while I did the 16-month ADN, & she would at times throw my homework and push my computer trying to get attention–it will emotionally kill you–and then it will be over. You can do it.”


Remember you are doing this FOR them

LeFevre said, “I have a five year old and had a baby in the middle of this last semester. It was hard but if you are determined enough you can do it….we do what we have to as mothers to provide the best for them.”

Stephanie Ray, another learner in the ADN Program said, “Ask yourself why are you doing this? Me because I wanted to give my children a better life, be more financially stable, and show my children that working hard it worth it in the end. Best wishes to all of you who are embarking on this journey!”

You are doing what is best for your family. You can make it. It will only last a few short months! Just think of where you are, and where you could be in 20 months (or less for LPNs!) with a stable career as a nurse. After you become an RN, you can also complete our fully-online RN-to-BSN program, which is only 12 months.

Don’t wait until your kids are older, let them grow up with a nurse as a parent! Keep in mind every time they want you to come play that you are sacrificing now so that THEY can have a better future. You are doing this for them!

The answer is yes.

According to our graduates, the answer to the question “Can you be a parent and a nursing student at the same time” is YES! Can I be a mom and a nurse? Yes! Can I be a dad and a nurse? Yes! Can I do nursing school with a baby? Yes! You can do it! It will be difficult, but it is possible, and it will improve your children’s lives. So don’t wait. Build the support system, make the sacrifices, remember you’re preparing for a better future and jump in.

Learn more about our ADN Program by clicking the button below.

There are few things more inspiring than watching learners become registered nurses. There’s a distinct hush in the audience as they move their tassels. There is the normal feelings that accompany graduation – the feelings of pride, accomplishment, and self-mastery, but there is something more. It’s a knowledge that these 68 learners are joining such a noble profession, a profession whose members will bring comfort and healing to all of humanity. It’s a realization that, at some point, these very nurses could be standing over you as you lay sick in a hospital bed. It’s both humbling and awe-inspiring.


Moving the tassels, however, is one of the last steps of the event. The event begins with a very different atmosphere – the faculty and graduates enter the room, amidst cheers, whoops, and whistles of those who have come to wish them well.

Then comes the faculty and learner addresses. This year’s faculty address was given by Carrie Leone, an assistant professor in the ADN Program. She spoke on the power of positivity and avoiding fear. “The feeling of fear and the feeling of excitement are the same feeling,” she said. “So you can choose. Do you want to be afraid, or do you want to be excited?” She explained that in nursing, there are many situations that will take a nurse by surprise, and in that moment, they can choose to learn, or choose fear. What a great message! Watch the video of her speech below.


The learner address was from spotlighted learner Jennifer Coffield, who was filmed in the documentary “The Bad Kids,” and who overcame extreme odds to complete high school.


President and CEO Mikhail Shneyder saw her story on the film, and, with approval from the board, offered Jennifer a full-ride scholarship to become a nurse at Nightingale College. Watch the trailer for “The Bad Kids” below.



Next on the list, the graduates received their nursing pins from those individuals who had a profound effect on their nursing journey. This person is usually a family member or spouse, but in the case of Dawit Ghabritzi, a refugee from Eritrea,  Nightingale admissions manager Stacie McVay was the one he chose to present him with this honor.  McVay who was his advisor and motivated him to enroll. “She changed my life,” he said. It was a special moment.


The lighting of the lamps was next, a reverent ordeal in which the Nightingale graduates light each of their lamps to symbolize the lamp that Florence Nightingale tirelessly carried to and from each sickbed. They then repeat the Nightingale Pledge.


Brian Beach was recognized as the class valedictorian this semester for achieving the highest score on the Level 4 Exit HESI.  The Nightingale College awards were also presented. Maranda Nelson, Karlie Laub and Anona Mikelson received the Community Fellow Award for their dedication and service as volunteers. Rebecca Moulin was presented with the FLAME! FORWARD! Award. The FLAME! FORWARD! Award is given to learners who have gone above and beyond our expectations. Faculty members nominate students for the FLAME! FORWARD! Award when they feel a learner exemplifies all the seven values of the college.


The big event, the procession and reading of the names, was done with roaring applause from the audience. This process was done alphabetically, which means that husband and wife Wyatt and Hailey Argyle were called in succession. Cheers from their family filled the hall when Shneyder announced their names together.


In-depth feature stories about spotlighted learners will be released soon.


We are deeply honored to have been a part of these nurses’ journey. Congratulations, nursing graduates, and we hope to see you again in our RN-to-BSN Program!

We know nursing students are desperate to find any shred of hope for studying the hard concepts in their courses. So we thought we would write a blog that provided helpful study tips, but when we were researching helpful tips, we also found some that were not so helpful. So we asked our staff members what they thought.

Most of them aren’t nurses, but have been through higher education and know how to study. None of these tips are made up, although some are paraphrased. All of them were found online, be it on Twitter, blogs, study pages, or other sources.

Let’s see what our staff had to say about some of these interesting tips:


  1. CSU Online now provides the ambient sounds of a coffee shop online to help their students study from home, so studying in a coffee shop must be helpful
  2. Positive affirmation is all you need to ace a test
  3. Take a 10 minute break for every hour of study.
  4. Write your class notes in horrible handwriting so you are practiced at reading doctor scribbles
  5. Fake it till you make it
  6. Study the key ideas of each chapter, don’t fill your mind up with every single piece of information in the chapter [skim].
  7. Learn to love coffee
  8. Memorize things even if you don’t understand them.
  9. Study by a window so you have things to look at while you think about the material

How do you find the time to study when holding down a full-time job? After a long day at work, studying is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Many learners who are in this boat share how unfocused they are when studying. Some have even mentioned how unmotivated they are to really understand the concepts and rush through studying. It soon becomes a game of remembering concepts just so it can be regurgitated back on the test and then forgotten.


That is not the way to study or learn, and will do you more harm than good. So much time and effort goes into your education, so don’t do yourself an injustice and slide on through nursing school.


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