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As the daughter of two elementary school teachers, 2019 CSP nursing graduate Oniria Gillenwaters understands the value of education and lifelong learning. After beginning her nursing career in Mexico, Oniria switched gears and worked in human resources before ultimately returning to nursing school, pursuing a career she never lost her passion for.
“In 2017, I officially became a registered nurse and am currently practicing nursing at St. Cloud Hospital [in] the inpatient rehabilitation unit. It has been a challenging but wonderful journey full of achievements and stories of success at personal and professional levels. All I can say is that I’m very happy to be back in the profession that I always wanted to practice.”
When it was time to continue her nursing education, Oniria looked for a program that combined a tradition of excellence with the flexibility she needed as a working professional. “The most important factor considered when selecting CSP to complete my Bachelor of Science in Nursing was accreditation. In my opinion, accreditation means that a school program has been reviewed and approved by experts in the field. Another important factor was the scheduling. Since I was working in a full-time position as a professional nurse, I was looking for an online program that would provide me with a quality education and meaningful learning experiences,” she says.
With a highly regarded and accredited nursing program, competitive tuition, and more, CSP was the right fit for Oniria. “The RN to BSN program at CSP is affordable, and the online program was a perfect complement with my work schedule and aligned with my nursing philosophy and my beliefs.”
As a nursing student at CSP, Oniria was excited to learn alongside peers and felt supported by expert nursing faculty as she completed real-world projects. “My favorite parts of this program were the diversity in my classes, the culture of respect among students during online discussions, and evaluating each other’s projects. I also enjoyed the approachability of my nursing professors and their support of me achieving my learning objectives. I felt a bit intimidated by community health nursing, but it turned out to be a warm and positive learning experience. The best part came with the capstone because I felt confident and motivated with my community project,” she says.
Oniria knows that her CSP nursing degree has prepared her to take her career to the next level. “I feel confident, and I have built up strong communication and leadership skills that have helped me in my current practice. The RN to BSN program has helped me to define my next professional goals and achieve national certification as a rehab nurse, as well as to reach a clinical ladder Level 3. It has motivated me to sign up as a volunteer in a community health program through CentraCare. It has given me the skills to be selected to be part of the charge nurses team at my home unit in St. Cloud Hospital.”
To help future nursing students make the most of their time at CSP, Oniria recommends reaching out to faculty for assistance when needed and taking the opportunity for professional and personal growth. “As a student of this program, it is important to take advantage of all the learning experiences and develop strong communication and leadership skills,” she said. “The RN to BSN program at CSP will prepare you to practice nursing with moral courage, social responsibility, and ethical awareness to advocate for high-quality health outcomes for patients and communities where you serve as a professional nurse.”