After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from George Mason University and spending years in the U.S. Army as a medic, Alberto Morales ’21, RN, made a shift in his life – he entered Shenandoah University’s Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program and became a nurse. Now, he’s taking his nursing career in a new direction as a student in the university’s Family Nurse Practitioner graduate program.
“I really enjoyed being a medic, and I liked how closely I worked with those who would be my ‘patients’ if need be,” Morales said, as he explained how he decided to go back to school for nursing as he transitioned out of the military and worked part-time as a medical assistant. “As an enlisted soldier, I was the backbone of the Army. I view nurses as the backbone of the health care world. Nurses are the ones who move things along, and are there every step of the way for the patients. I realized I wanted to become a part of the backbone of the health care world. As I learned more about the nursing world, I saw that it can take many different paths.”
He said he learned about Shenandoah’s accelerated program from a friend, who told him “amazing things about the program structure and the professors.” He soon learned that his friend’s impressions were true about Shenandoah’s ABSN, through which students earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 15 months. “Apart from how amazing the professors are, one thing that really stuck out to me was their response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “I started the program in the spring of 2020 and during spring break, we were told that we would be going online because of the pandemic. It was a smooth transition, and we had lectures, exams, quizzes, and even Zoom conferences with professors, if needed.”
Morales, whose goal is to be a nurse practitioner in an emergency department, and perhaps a nursing educator, offered this advice to anyone considering Shenandoah’s Accelerated Second Degree nursing program: “I would tell them that they are making the right decision about the program. While it can be challenging and fast-paced, it is worth it. The professors are amazing.”