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RN to BSN Student Krista Harmon Deepens Appreciation for Nurses of All Specialties


NKU RN to BSN student Krista and colleague

Krista with her friend Molly Gadd

When you've been doing the same thing for 18 years, there's a tendency to let your world get smaller.

That's what Krista Harmon found out when she began the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing online program from Northern Kentucky University and saw it broaden her view.

"I feel like the program has allowed me to interact with nurses who work in many different specialties, and I have been able to better understand the struggles that can come with each area of nursing," she said. "No matter what area a nurse works in, they want to be the best caregiver possible and make some sort of positive impact in their patients' lives."

Harmon had been thinking about going back for her BSN, but it took the encouragement of a colleague, nurse practitioner Molly Gadd, for her to make the final push.

"Molly inspired me to go back to school to finish my bachelor's and then hopefully go into the master's program to get my nurse practitioner certification," she said.

Harmon decided to return to NKU where she originally received her ADN in 2001. While balancing a hectic career with being a wife and mother of six children ages seven to 16, Harmon has found the online classes both beneficial and manageable.

"It was a little overwhelming and intimidating, but once I got the hang of it, it was not bad," she said.

Now with a firm grip on the program and with only four classes left, Harmon is happy to be bringing a new level of critical thinking to her job as a geriatric nurse and setting a shining example for her children.

A New Set of Skills

NKU_RNBSN_KristaHarmon_husband.jpg

Krista and husband Charlie

Harmon feels the NKU RN to BSN program is designed to give students a more comprehensive view of nursing. While not all of the information has had a direct impact on her practice, she feels it has made her a more well-rounded nurse.

"I'm still the same nurse I was before I started this program, but I just have a little bit more education behind me — and evidence," she said. "I think it has helped with my critical thinking skills and thinking outside of the box in how to treat people."

Learning new critical thinking skills and about the importance of utilizing evidence-based practice in caring for patients to improve outcomes came largely from one of her favorite classes, NRP 471: Concept of Professional Nursing.

"That class taught me something that I didn't get a whole lot of education on in my associate degree program," she said. "It was a little bit difficult for me to wrap my head around, but then once I was able to read and learn about all the different nursing theories, it was all really interesting."

Harmon also appreciated learning more about areas of nursing outside of her field of practice, which deepened her interest in an area she had all but forgotten about from her previous studies.

"I also really liked the genetics class [NRP 476: Genetics] that I had to take," she said. "I learned a lot about different genetic diseases while working on my ADN, but that was so long ago. It was interesting to learn how genetics can affect aging, and I relearned some disease processes that I hadn’t had much practice with in caring for a mostly elderly population."

But it wasn't just building skills related to nursing that Harmon found so useful. The program's all-online format allowed her to develop her computer skills, too.

"If I can navigate the computer, anybody can," she laughed. "I mean, I'm not computer-illiterate, but I'm a little bit older, and I found it to be easily doable."

With new skills and her eyes set on her master's, she's moving toward her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner in a long-term care rehab facility for the elderly.

Setting an Example

With the loving support of her husband, Charlie, Harmon's continuing education is as much about achieving career aspirations as it is about modeling perseverance for her children.

"At this point, I want to do it for me, but at the same time, I don't want to let them down," she said. "I want them to be able to trust my word and know that if I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it. I think that's been my biggest motivation."

Seeing their mother go for her dreams has made a profound impact on Harmon's children.

"My older kids respect me for doing this because they know that I work a lot, and they know that they take a lot of my time as well," she said. "I think that they have a little bit more respect for the fact that I'm trying to better myself."

As for her younger children, Harmon's influence has inspired a love of education and success that she hopes will set the tone for the rest of their lives.

"I feel like they are striving more to bring home their grades," she said. "They don't really get letter grades because they're in first grade and elementary school, but they are super excited to show their report cards. They want to know that they're doing well."

Nurses make a difference in their patients' lives every day, but what better way to know you've made a difference than to see such a change in your children?

Learn more about the NKU online RN to BSN program.


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