Learn how these nurses are advancing their careers

On any given day, Lynelle Halling works to provide infusion therapy to cancer patients in a major metro health care system in Minnesota. Meantime, Heidi Houska helps military veterans at a regional health system or travels to provide care to residents of rural communities in North Dakota and Minnesota. Like many registered nurses, their schedules are jam-packed with career, family and other responsibilities.

After Houska received her associate degree in nursing, she put her skills into practice. She has been working as a nurse for four years. She knew, however, that nursing as a career provides many opportunities and she needed additional education to take advantage of them. Halling also knew that advancing her nursing education provides more career options.

“Earning my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree has been a lifelong personal goal of mine,” said Houska. “I was eager to advance my knowledge in nursing and strengthen my leadership skills to better serve those in need of nursing care.”


Houska was the first student to enroll in the part-time, online blended Registered Nurse to Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program available through North Dakota State University.

“They know nurses have busy schedules and they are motivated to provide students with the best experience possible. I chose this program because of the ability to complete school without interrupting my work schedule,” said Houska.

The five-semester online program through NDSU allows nurses with associate degrees the flexibility to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in a way that fits their schedules. Courses build on the knowledge that registered nurses learned in their associate degree program and their on-the-job experience.

There are also day-and-a-half on-campus immersions each fall and spring semester at NDSU. Clinical experiences can be completed in a student’s home community.

Nurses such as Heidi Houska and her online classmate, Lynelle Halling, find the program tailored to their needs. Halling balances her career as an oncology infusion nurse in Minnesota, and a family of six children with her husband who travels frequently on business. She also found the NDSU program to be a way to transform her nursing career.

What’s more, her NDSU online program courses were useful immediately. “The Essence of Nursing course included the Nursing Code of Ethics and it was a good refresher on what is expected of a nurse. Everything I learned in this course I could directly apply to my work,” said Halling. “The coursework is very applicable to my nursing practice, which makes it exciting to learn so that I can improve my skills.”

The online program fits Halling’s busy schedule. “I’m able to juggle everything because I enjoy my work and I enjoy learning.” She also found the NDSU program provides opportunities to engage with her classmates.

“Activities we do as a class during immersion at the beginning of each semester are team building and we are able to develop a good rapport with our peers,” said Halling.

Halling recognizes the importance of advancing her nursing education. “It seems that more and more institutions are looking for nurses with BSNs. Having this degree, I should be able to continue working as a nurse throughout my career,” she said.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50 percent to 80 percent in the U.S. by 2020.

“The most beneficial part of this program is the experience and knowledge gained,” said Heidi Houska. “I see myself seeking opportunities to improve the practice of nursing and to be a leader,” she said.

Both nurses found the NDSU online blended RN to BSN program to be tailored to the needs of professionals working full time, who want to transform their practice and advance their nursing career.

“You will not regret it. It is easier than you think,” said Houska.

Learn about NDSU’s online blended RN to BSN program at www.ndsu.edu/nursing or call 701.231.7886 for more information.

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