Rockford Medical Assistant Climbs Ladder to RN Degree

Rockford Nursing student Kerstein Bracken

Sometimes a school is worth waiting for.

Or at least it was for Rockford, Ill., nursing student Kerstein Bracken. She earned an associate degree in medical assisting from Rasmussen College in 2011 and planned to pursue another associate degree in nursing immediately after graduation. Waiting lists at other schools and the news of the nursing program eventually coming to the Rockford campus, however, made her decide to wait. Bracken says the wait was worth it.

“[Rasmussen College] is the best place. I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else,” Bracken says. “I loved the whole support system there so much that I was willing to wait to go back.”

Continuing her education

Bracken’s experience working in healthcare facilities is substantial. At 16 she caught the bug for healthcare by working in the kitchen at a nursing home. She knew from here experience there that she wanted to pursue a career in a medical setting, but wasn’t quite sure how to get started.

Bracken set out to find information about schools in the area but wasn’t having much luck in finding someone to help her with the admissions process. After hearing about Rasmussen College while searching online, she requested information and was contacted by an admissions representative. It was smooth sailing from there.

“Everyone [at Rasmussen College] was so helpful in guiding me into a program and making it easy to get the financial paperwork and everything in order,” Bracken says.

That support, in addition to the lack of a waiting list at the Rockford, Ill., campus, led Bracken back to Rasmussen College when she decided she wanted to pursue nursing. Bracken transferred the credit she earned from the medical assisting program to her nursing degree, so with most of her prerequisite coursework complete, Bracken was able to start on her core nursing classes immediately. She says being able to focus on nursing classes helps to keep her schoolwork enjoyable.

“I love what I’m learning right now so even when I’m working on case studies or other assignments for my nursing classes it doesn’t feel so much like work,” Bracken says.

Family helps set the bar

Bracken has the challenge of raising two children and working two jobs while being enrolled in nursing classes. Needless to say, there’s a lot on her plate.

She actually invited her mother to move in with the rest of her family to help manage some of the house work and daily chores. That move helped her keep up with her academic responsibilities as her mom takes care of some of the cooking and cleaning. Bracken says every little bit helps, especially when trying to give her young children a normal life amidst a busy schedule.

Bracken says setting an example for her family is what keeps her motivated.

“I came from kind of a poor background as a child,” Bracken says. “I knew when I grew up and had kids of my own that I would do everything I could to set an example and provide more for them. I want to show my kids that they can do anything in life, no matter where you come from.”

Bracken does plan on continuing her nursing education and has a goal of one day becoming a nurse practitioner; however, she says that plan is for further down the line. For now, she plans to savor the time with her young children.

“I figure I’ll have to wait until my kids are older and too cool for their mom before I decide to pursue a master’s degree,” Bracken says.

Common ground helps her work

Few things cause worry for a parent like a sick child. Bracken says her experience raising children helps her empathize with the parents of sick children she encounters while working as a medical assistant at a pediatric clinic.

“When the parents of patients call and are worried because their kid can’t stop throwing up it is easy to relate with them because as a parent I have those concerns too,” she says.

Bracken is reminded daily of how rewarding her career is as she reassures her patients and nurses them back to health.

“The clinic I work in has a lot of premature babies on feeding tubes, so it’s exciting to see them grow up and overcome obstacles like having a tube in,” said Bracken. “Just knowing that by doing my job I’m helping people is really heartwarming.”

Bracken now looks forward to a career full of heartwarming moments, thanks to the hard work she puts in and the education she received at Rasmussen College.

Are you working in a healthcare facility and looking to take the next step in your career? A nursing degree from Rasmussen College could be your ticket to a lifetime of rewarding work.

About the author

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen University. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


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