Geisinger Medical Center Perioperative Nurse Overcomes Obstacles to Earn MSN in Nursing Education

– Nurse Educators Play Critical Role Teaching Next Generation of Nurses to Become Great Leaders in Healthcare –

AURORA, Colo. – September 9, 2015 – Nursing schools that use a distance learning model, like American Sentinel University’s online nursing program, are helping to transform nursing education. By making advanced degrees in nursing education more accessible to clinical nurses, online schools are helping nurses teach future generations.

“Nurse educators play a pivotal role in strengthening the nursing workforce,” says Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, associate dean of American Sentinel’s graduate nursing programs. “To help prepare tomorrow’s nurse educators, we must make advanced nursing education available to a wider pool of students. These students include working nurses and healthcare professionals who have constraints in their time or live in rural areas far from traditional classrooms. This will help them achieve a higher level of knowledge and competence in the nursing practice.”

The greater accessibility to advanced nursing programs made it possible for Tracey Young, MSN, BSN, RN, a perioperative nurse at Geisinger Medical Center to earn an MSN with a nursing education specialization.

Young joined the operating team at Geisinger in 2007 and assists in urological and gynecological surgical procedures. She is a panel member of the National State Board of Nursing and a national planning committee member for the Society of Urological Nurses.

A Cutting-edge Hospital

Geisinger is recognized for innovative delivery of healthcare and is one of the largest rural health services organizations in the country and a Magnet hospital. It serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout central and northeast Pennsylvania. “We do amazing things like use robotics in surgery,” says Young. “It was such an honor to become a part of this team.” Young’s hard work earned her recognition in Geisinger’s Nurses Emerging as Leaders program in 2014.

She credits working at Geisinger for bringing her life full circle.

As a child, the Pennsylvania native almost lost her life due to a collapsed lung and she attributes her recovery to the nurses and doctors at Geisinger.

“I was very influenced by the amazing people who took care of me, and it was that experience that made me want to pursue healthcare when I grew up and motivated me to pursue becoming a nurse educator,” says Young.

The career outlook for Young’s specialty is strong; nurses interested in teaching careers will have many opportunities due to the growing nursing shortage of nurse educators.

“The shortage of nurse educators enhances career prospects for nurses since it affords a high level of job security and provides opportunities for clinical nurses, like Tracey, to maintain dual roles as educators and direct patient care providers,” says Dr. Foster.

Continual Pursuit to Better Herself
When Young decided to continue her education she was encouraged by Geisinger to consider one of its educational partners, American Sentinel University and started the MSN, nursing education specialization, in 2013.

“From day one, I received so much support from professors and staff,” Young says. “I learned so much in every class, and there were many other aspects like affordability and class structure that made it a great experience.”

Unexpected Tragedy
After sustaining her fifth concussion in 2014, doctors told Young that the cumulative damage was considered a traumatic brain injury and at that the time, she was halfway through her final class at American Sentinel.

Since then, she has been focused on getting stronger. Between regular medical appointments with specialists several hours from home and the challenges she deals with to complete everyday activities that used to be simple, it hasn’t been easy. Care and encouragement from her American Sentinel support system, her husband, as well as her bosses and colleagues at Geisinger have helped.

“My student success advisor, Julie Alexander, took the time to discuss and arranged the accommodations suggested by my concussion specialist that would help me finish my class,” Young says. In July 2015, she did just that and proudly accepted her diploma from American Sentinel.

Focused on the Future
Young is eager to return from medical leave as soon as possible to the job she loves.

With the MSN, nursing education specialization, under her belt, Young is eager to teach other nurses in the ever-innovative setting that is Geisinger’s operating room.

“I love to teach and to learn, and I think I’m now better able to help other nurses. I want to continue to advance my career at this amazing hospital.”

Learn more about American Sentinel University’s online MSN, nursing education specialization program at or call 866.922.5690

About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing (BSN, MSN, and DNP) and healthcare management (MBA Healthcare, M.S. Information Systems Management, and M.S. Business Intelligence and Analytics). Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 234-5100,

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