“I was employed to do filing and work as a receptionist, and shortly after that, I started to help with patient referrals to specialists, as well as scheduling and pre-certification for radiological imaging and tests,” Behr said. “And I really enjoyed that. I thought, ‘Hey, I’d like to go further with this.’ The healthcare area was just interesting to me. I found reading different reports and things like that to be completely fascinating.”
Behr, who is originally from New Jersey, moved to Georgia 20 years ago. She graduated from Columbus State University’s RN to BSN online program in December 2016. She earned her Associate of Nursing from Bainbridge State College, which is also in Georgia, two years earlier.
As Behr pursued her higher education goals, her fledgling healthcare career began to take off. After working at Grady Primary Care for five years, she moved on to work as a registered nurse at Grady General Hospital, which is part of the Archbold Medical Center, in Cairo. Archbold Medical Center consists of four hospitals and three nursing homes.
Behr also picked up the clinical hours required for her BSN at Grady Primary Care. Additionally, she recently began training to become a circulating nurse in the operating room, and Behr hopes to acquire certification in the O.R. and eventually become a nursing instructor. For Behr, being a part of the inner workings of the operating room has easily been the most fascinating aspect of her career.
“I’m just really enjoying being in the operating room,” Behr said. “That has been very exciting to see how advanced the medical field has become. We can repair joints and put prosthetic parts on bodies so people can walk again. It’s really awesome.”
Behr said she has never been fazed by watching any of the gory surgical procedures in the operating room that can often make other people squirm — especially the first time they witness one in person.
“When I was younger, I never thought I could have done it,” she said. “Now, I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me one bit.”
Back to School
Behr had a couple of great reasons to earn her BSN.
First, a bachelor’s degree had always been an “ultimate goal” since she graduated from high school in 1988. She also wanted to prove to her two children — Joel, 23, and Julia, 17 — that higher education is both attainable and vital to their future success.
“I really wanted my kids to see that this was something they could accomplish,” Behr said. “I wanted them to know they could do it, too. It was important to me, although [a BSN] is not a job requirement that I’m aware of.”
Julia is already enrolled as a student at Georgia Tech, while Joel is self-employed working in construction and flooring with his father.
Behr said her children and the rest of her family and friends were all excited about her decision to earn her bachelor’s degree and pave the way for a long-term career in the healthcare field.
“I think they were very proud of it,” she said. “And they were very much supportive of it.”
Behr chose to earn her degree from CSU online after a recommendation from her friend, Morgan Jackson, who attended school with her at Bainbridge State before graduating from Columbus State in 2015. In addition to her nursing courses, Behr said she also enjoyed another course that was a definite change of pace.
“My nursing courses were the ones I seemed to do well in,” Behr said, “but I also had a music appreciation class I enjoyed that was just like a basic class.”
Behr said the flexibility of the online format was essential to balancing work, spending time with her kids, reading and riding motorcycles with her boyfriend.
“I even have my own motorcycle now,” she said. “But it’s not a Harley-Davidson or anything like that.”
Behr said she also liked the structure of the courses and the availability of all of her instructors.
“The online format provided by CSU made obtaining my degree much easier by allowing me to work during times which were convenient for me and at my own pace,” she said. “I could do work early in the morning or in the middle of the night, depending on what shift I was working since I am already employed as a nurse.
“The teachers provide a syllabus which outlined what and when things were due, and I just needed to complete the work. Students are also able to work ahead at times. And if I had any questions, contacting my professors was easy, and they responded within a day, usually sooner.”
In addition to crossing such a huge goal off the list, Behr said she believes having her Bachelor of Science in Nursing will be a big factor in opening the door for managerial positions in the future.
Like Jackson, Behr also said she would definitely recommend the RN to BSN online program at CSU to her fellow registered nurses, but she added that anybody planning on earning their degree should “definitely focus on work habits and don’t procrastinate.”
And Behr is confident the education she received at CSU has given her the foundation she needs to become the best caregiver she can be, which is something that she believes is essential.
“We focused on evidence-based practice, which definitely helps you think about what’s going to be best for your patients,” Behr said. “That’s very important.”
Learn more about the Columbus State online RN to BSN program.
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