Bri Crumrine ’23 has always felt a call to serve. It was why she spent more than three years in the U.S. Army, and why, after departing the military in 2021, she decided to study nursing at Shenandoah University despite having already earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology before joining the Army.
“That’s where I wanted to end up,” Crumrine said recently of her decision to pursue a nursing career, “because I have always been about wanting to help people and to serve people. I got to do that in the Army, and now I feel like nursing is where I need to be.”
Crumrine said it was about two years ago that she first reached out to SU’s Liz Woodward, who was serving as a senior transfer admissions counselor for Shenandoah at the time, to inquire about SU’s Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing.
Crumrine, 27, had come across Shenandoah’s nursing program during her college search and was intrigued by the idea of using her prior education to speed up the process. In Shenandoah’s Accelerated Second Degree BSN program, a student’s existing bachelor’s degree fulfills most of their non-nursing courses, allowing them to focus exclusively on their nursing studies. By doing so, students in the program can complete their BSN in only 15 months.
Crumrine enrolled at SU in January 2022 and is on track to graduate in May 2023. She plans to work as a labor and delivery nurse after graduation.
The accelerated BSN program has been one of the most rigorous and rewarding programs I have been a part of. There is a reason Shenandoah has some of the highest NCLEX pass rates in the area. The long hours of studying and clinicals start on day one, but they pay off as soon as you walk into a patient’s room and the patient says, ‘You are the first person I have seen today that is actually taking time to talk with me and learn about me.’”
Bri Crumrine ’23, Shenandoah University student
Crumrine, a California native, had entertained the idea of joining the Army after graduating from high school in 2013, but chose instead to enlist in April 2018, after earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2017. She was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant out of Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, in October 2018, and served stateside for 3½ years before leaving the Army as a first lieutenant in November 2021.
She served with the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Stewart, Georgia, and being an armor officer meant she got to “drive around and shoot tanks.” Crumrine served her final eight months as a Rear Detachment Company Commander, a role in which she was in charge of over 150 soldiers at any given time.
Crumrine said the biggest lesson she learned during her time in the Army was the importance of teamwork and respect.
“It’s really important to be able to lean on your peers in the Army. As a leader, you have to be able to empower your subordinates, and understand that even though they work for you, they’re still working alongside you, and how you treat them affects how hard they’ll work for you and how much they’ll respect you,” she said. “The Army is all about respecting the people around you, above you and below you, and it’s really important to bring that to the rest of the world as a regular civilian. I think respect is one of the things that’s most important.”
When Crumrine made the transition from the Army back to being a college student, she said SU Assistant Registrar/Veterans and Technology Specialist Niccole Gatliff was instrumental in making that process a smooth one.
Crumrine added that it’s important that Shenandoah – which has over 160 military-affiliated students and over 30 military-affiliated employees – features a Veterans, Military and Families Center that will take on an even larger footprint on the university’s main campus upon completion of the Hub for Innovators, Veterans and Entrepreneurs (HIVE).
The HIVE will become a place that helps bridge the gap during the shift from military to civilian life, which can often be a lonely transition for veterans. The military is a brotherhood known only to those who have been through it. Shenandoah is providing a place where like-minded individuals can gather and use resources they may not have previously had access to. It’s amazing.”
Bri Crumrine ’23