Pursuing Her Passion: Erica Foley, RN
Erica Foley, RN, is combining two of her passions in her current role as Nurse Educator at Spaulding Hospital Cambridge (SHC). After graduating from Boston University, Erica began her career as a teacher in the Brighton school system and later worked as a nanny. She had always been interested in the medical profession and enrolled in Simmons College where she graduated with a BSN. She started working in the Admissions office at SHC, then moved to a nursing position on 4 South, then onto Charge Nurse. Her professional path continuing to rise on a leadership tract, Erica was focused on the needs of floor nurses. What do new nurses need to do their jobs well? What challenges do they face? What can leadership do to help nurses succeed?
Motivated by questions like these, Erica was encouraged by her manager to pursue a Master's degree through the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) on-line degree program. Having investigated other advanced degree programs, she found that the SNHU program had more content that could be customized to her specific interests. The classes were applicable and focused specifically on her professional development tract. It wasn't going to be easy- it will take Erica about 2 years to complete her Master’s degree, but she has the benefits of continued employment, tuition assistance and access to other educational resources throughout Spaulding and the Mass General Brigham. For example, she will need to shadow a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) as part of her program, so will likely do this at MGH or BWH since there are no similar positions within Spaulding. Access to quality mentorship opportunities is often an overlooked benefit in advanced degree programs.
Right now Erica is motivated by her work as a Nurse Educator at SHC, and spends about 10-15 hours per week on her on-line program. She is not exactly sure where she wants to be in 10 years but knows that continuing education and practicum experiences will help position her for many new opportunities. Erica states, "The new educational programs at Spaulding were a huge motivator for me to further my education. Not to have to worry about student loans, and the ability to work full-time, is a major benefit."
For more information about nursing continuing education programs at Spaulding, please contact Lynne Brady Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org.