Recent Rasmussen College nursing graduates, Linda Stinger and Jessica “Jessie” OBanion were once strangers from different backgrounds. However, their paths crossed at Rasmussen College when their shared goals of advancing their educations, following their dreams and becoming registered nurses (RNs) brought them together.
As of October 25, 2016, Rasmussen College has had around 5,800 nursing students graduate from its School of Nursing. Stinger and OBanion, along with 40 of their peers, joined the Rasmussen College nursing alumni family on March 16 at the Rasmussen College Bloomington campus pinning ceremony. Stinger and OBanion were voted by their peers to speak at the ceremony, an honor both of these women felt humbled by. Together, they spoke about what being a nurse means to them and to their fellow classmates.
For Stinger, the journey to graduate from Rasmussen College with her Associate’s degree in Professional Nursing was a dream that wasn’t fully realized until she was 25 years into a career in the technical communications field. Initially, after high school, Stinger went to school and became a licensed practical nurse (LPN). While she was fascinated by the field, she found she enjoyed technical writing more at the time and chose to pursue that instead. After many years and some soul searching, she realized medical information remained very intriguing to her. With this realization, she knew it was time to refresh her LPN and take the dive back into nursing.
For OBanion, going back to school meant finishing what she started. “Nursing has always been in my blood. It is what I wanted to do since I was little,” she says.
Life’s roadblocks had a way of interfering with her dreams. Over 20 years ago, shortly after her daughter was born, OBanion knew she had to go to school to support her child. Unfortunately, in the middle of her nursing program, her daughter got the chicken pox. As a single mother, OBanion’s only option was to quit school to take care of her. When her daughter was four, OBanion was able to go back to school and get her LPN. OBanion always promised herself she was going to advance her career someday and become an RN. Now, almost 24 years since she originally made that promise to herself and to her daughter, OBanion has achieved her goal.
Rasmussen College proved to be the right fit for both Stinger and OBanion. The small class sizes felt welcoming, and the faculty and students were inspiring. “All of the students I met in the program were very focused. Almost all had life and work experiences to bring to the table,” said Stinger. “Although we are all on different journeys, we are all making this step together,” said OBanion.
OBanion says her passion for being a nurse has lasted for as long as she can remember. She says, “Even when I was very little I just knew I wanted to be a nurse; maybe it was a calling.” She recalls the moment the light bulb really came on for her; “When I was in my last quarter of school, I was in the hospital rotation for the first time, and it’s like everything clicked.” It was in this moment she says she started to really trust in herself and think like a nurse. The experience fueled her excitement to graduate and begin her career.
“Being an RN means being able to be more helpful,” says Stinger. She loves the one on one connection nurses develop with patients, “the day to day excites me, I can see patients and listen to their stories ... If I can lift one person up, that is a successful day.” In nursing school, she learned to not only be an advocate for patients, but also an advocate for herself. She was able to listen to not only the needs of those around her, but also her own. She is excited to take this understanding into the field and believes she was put on Earth to do good.
“Nursing school is a huge commitment; you can’t just do things part-way. You have to be prepared to give it everything,” said OBanion. Stinger also says, “It is important to make connections with your peers, form study groups and ask a lot of questions.”
After countless study sessions, long days of quizzing each other and sharing in each other’s frustrations and proudest moments, these two women, along with their nursing cohort, have graduated. They join the ranks of Rasmussen College alumni and are on their ways to making a difference in the lives of others as they join the nursing profession.
Are you considering becoming a nurse like Stinger or OBanion? For more information about the Rasmussen College School of Nursing, click here.