It might not have been the best time for Christine Davis to go back to school.
She was working full time as a diabetes education coordinator. She was about to start a family. And she was balancing church and social activities.
Busy though she was, the bachelor’s in nursing had always been the goal, and it was time to realize the goal.
“People ask me, ‘How did you do it?’ I tell them, ‘I wanted it. It was a dream of mine,’ ” says Davis, who today is nursing professional development educator with IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana.
Ball Memorial is where Davis began her career as a staff nurse immediately after earning her associate degree. When her unit evolved into the diabetes unit, she found her specialty and eventually became a certified diabetes educator.
“I think that’s really when I fell in love with teaching and learning,” says Davis, of her experience in teaching patients with diabetes. Soon she was in pursuit of her bachelor’s through Ball State’s online RN-to-bachelor’s-degree completion track.
Like many students, Davis needed a primer in online education. “It was a little nerve-racking at first,” says Davis. “But professors walked us through all the tools we had at our disposal. For example, they took us to a chat room and showed us how it worked.”
The freedom and flexibility factor is part of the appeal of online programs. But Davis liked the fact that assignment deadlines were identified at the start of classes, even though most of her courses didn’t have specific meeting times.
“I’m an organized person so I liked knowing from the beginning when all my assignments were due,” says Davis.
Davis pursued her degree just one class at a time, giving birth to two sons along the way. By the time her boys started school, she was balancing their school activities, teaching Sunday school, holding offices in a local sorority, and continuing to work full time. Although at one point she had to put her studies on pause, Davis achieved her degree and her dream in 2006.
That same year she began teaching part time in the certified nursing aide program for Ivy Tech Community College. A year later, and after 12 years in diabetes education, she assumed one of Ball Memorial’s nursing professional development educator positions.
In 2010, Davis decided to pursue a master of science in nursing and for her there were no other options than her alma mater. Ball State’s online master’s in nursing is the 11th largest in the country. Because of her interest in teaching, she was able to pursue a leadership track, designed for educators and administrators. And because the program was designed with part timers in mind, Davis, still the full-time mom and still the full-time nurse, is taking one class each semester and on target to finish in three years.
“Ball State cares about high quality education, and it shows—at the undergraduate level and the graduate level,” says Davis.
Davis liked the fact that the bachelor’s program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE) since many employers, including hers, require their nurses to hold degrees from accredited schools.
Davis has become a cheerleader for the bachelor’s completion track. “When people tell me they have an associate degree, I start recruiting,” she says.
Along with several online programs in health and nursing, Ball State offers a number of online programs in business and leadership, communications and technology, and education and counseling.