Amanda Johnson ’08 was a dedicated music major the day she walked into an emergency room as a nurse’s aid.
The job paid well and the hours were flexible – a perfect situation for a college student. But the experience became more than a job. Soon Johnson knew that she wanted nursing to become her vocation.
“There was just something that drew me in that direction,” she says.
But it was too late in her academic career to switch majors. She needed to find a different way to accomplish her new goal.
The answer came in the form of Concordia’s accelerated nursing program. The program allows students who have completed a bachelor’s degree to receive a nursing degree in 18 months, as long as they have the needed prerequisites.
Johnson started taking science courses her senior year, graduated with a degree in music and then entered the accelerated nursing program. In December 2009, she completed the program and secured a job as a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit.
“It was very efficient,” she says. “I’m amazed at the quality of education I received in those 18 months. I was able to do so much.”
The expectations of Concordia’s nursing faculty are high, but they support their students and want them to succeed, Johnson says. The faculty encourage students to problem solve and to use their critical thinking.
“That’s important,” she says. “After all, you’re dealing with people's health and lives.”
Johnson’s learning didn’t stop after Concordia.
She went on to earn her doctorate in nursing and is now a nurse practitioner on Sanford Health’s pediatric unit on the pediatric hospitalist team. There she works closely with families and a wide range of children – from babies to 17-year-olds with adult-type issues. And she even gets to use her music skills once in awhile.
“To know that you helped a patient get better, that is very rewarding,” she says. “Getting my nursing degree was worth the time and financial investment, hands down. I love every minute.”
Erin Hemme Froslie '96 is a freelance writer and editor.