Following an Unexpected Setback, Persistence and a Strong Bond with Fellow Students Helped Propel Rasmussen College Nursing Student to Graduation
When McKenna Godfrey first pursued her nursing education, she was excited to jump into a career she always knew she was destined for. As a daughter of a nurse, Godfrey was no stranger to a hospital setting. She loved seeing her mom interact with patients, doctors and other nurses—the dynamic was electrifying. Godfrey knew that one day she wanted to be a nurse so she could go above and beyond for her patients the way her mother always had.
In December 2016, just six months from graduation, Godfrey’s career dreams seemed to come to a screeching halt. She and her fellow students were told the college she was attending would be shut down. It seemed her degree and future career hung in limbo. “I felt absolutely devastated and panicked. Frankly, I felt really lost,” Godfrey said. “We were so close to graduating, and all I could think was, ‘What are we supposed to do now?’” she said.
During this confusing time for Godfrey and her nursing cohort, emotions ran high. Following the announcement of the abrupt closure, students were told an agreement was made that allowed them to transfer to another institution. Finally, the students felt at ease. “We felt like we dodged a bullet,” she said.
Just when she thought she could get back on the path to graduation, Godfrey learned that the new college could no longer take the nursing students as they had initially anticipated. Feeling frustrated and hopeless, Godfrey wasn’t sure when, where or even whether she would be able to complete her degree.
In January 2017, the students learned they could continue their Nursing program at Rasmussen University. The students had many questions but felt relief knowing they had somewhere to go and a support system to welcome them. Godfrey and 25 members of her nursing cohort transferred to the Rasmussen University Bachelor of Science Nursing degree program that month. “We were able to stay with our cohort to help ease the transition, which I am grateful for. We had been together for the past two and a half years. The turmoil and changes brought our bond even closer together,” she said.
When the students got to Rasmussen University, the quarter was already underway, so the College and the students needed to be quick to adapt. The first quarter was accelerated and primarily online. She says Rasmussen University Nursing faculty worked diligently to adjust the curriculum to best pick up where the students last left off.
“The advisors at Rasmussen were so nice and took their time to answer all of our questions patiently and to the best of their ability,” Godfrey said. “We had to have sent thousands of emails to Stephanie Yackel, the dean, and she got back to us quickly and professionally. She even took time out of her day to meet with us in person to address our concerns. She found the answers we were looking for,” she said.
With graduation just six months away, the students persisted. Now, more than ever, they needed to utilize their support systems, whether that was family, friends or instructors. One support system they shared was each other, Godfrey said. “We really relied on each other throughout the whole process. We talked about our fears together. We were all in the same boat.”
Finally, the cohort made it to graduation and their much-anticipated pinning ceremony in June 2017. “I can’t believe the last six months happened. I really can’t help but laugh at all we have been through and that we were still able to make it through,” Godfrey said. She credits her ability to turn negatives into positives, her strong bond with her peers and her drive for the nursing field for propelling her through the past few months.