Shelly Jensen
Indianola, IA

Like many registered nurses (RNs) who have been out of school and involved in the profession for years, Shelly Jensen wasn’t always convinced that she needed to continue her education.

“I worked as an RN for many years in varied areas of nursing and never really felt that obtaining a BSN [Bachelor of Science in Nursing] was that important,” she explains. “I never really felt that having those three letters behind my name would make me a better nurse; however, the longer I worked in nursing, the more I realized that I did need further education. I needed to expand my knowledge and skills … for myself and for my patients.”

Jensen, a recent graduate from UI’s College of Nursing, acknowledges the journey to obtaining her bachelor’s degree was a long one. She graduated from the college’s RN to BSN program in December 2014 but was admittedly hesitant initially about returning to school.

“I was extremely intimidated to be in classes with other students not much older than my oldest child. Many times I thought … I have been out of school for 20 years; what am I thinking? But my passion for learning and fulfilling the goal of earning a BSN soon made those thoughts fade away.”

Jensen cited the college’s outstanding reputation for challenging and preparing nurses to meet the increasing demands of the profession; the online availability of the RN-BSN program (enabling her to continue working full time while taking classes); and UI’s acceptance and transference of her previous educational credits from local community colleges as key factors that finalized her decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“The educational experience at the UI definitely enhanced my expertise as a RN. The BSN program increased my clinical abilities, management skills, and cultural awareness. The program opened my eyes to the impact BSN-prepared nurses can make regarding advocacy and policymaking in the increasingly challenging and changing health care field.

“My education from the University of Iowa College of Nursing has allowed me to carry much of what I learned directly into the community I serve. I am better prepared to think critically about the needs of my community and advocate on behalf of the residents I serve.”