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Arkansas State University

John Bramlett Paves Way for Future With Online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

A-STATE RN to BSN student John Bramlett

While gaining five years of real-world experience as a hospital nurse, John Bramlett noticed a trend among his colleagues.

“I worked with a mix of associate degree- and bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses,” he said. “Practice wise, they were very professional and all great nurses, but I saw that the bachelor’s degree offered different opportunities, such as educator, manager and director of nursing.

“Having a bachelor’s degree provides a huge list of career avenues you can take, whether at the bedside or in advanced practice. I wanted to challenge myself, improve myself academically and open more doors.”

So, Bramlett enrolled in the online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Arkansas State University (A-State). He completed the program in April 2022.

Four months before he completed the program, Bramlett landed a new position as a travel nurse for TRS Healthcare in Rogers, Arkansas. With the asynchronous nature of the program, he did not miss a beat.

“The online format helped a lot,” he said. “The deadlines were flexible and spread out, so I had time between shifts to get work done when I was a full-time nurse in a hospital.”

“I came across A-State when I was searching for programs at several schools,” he said. “The tuition wasn’t bad, and the online reviews were good.

“It was also in-state, which helped. Within the first few classes, I knew I liked it a lot more than my previous schools. The setup was great. The instructors were super nice and helpful. It was a great fit for me.”

Hello, Nurse

Bramlett grew up in Neosho, Missouri, where a few trips to the hospital for treatments of various ailments inspired his future career choice.

“I remember when the nurses came in, they were super kind and helpful and always knew what to do,” he said. “When I was 15 years old, I found out about Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists [CRNA]. That became my goal.”

After graduating with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Crowder College in 2016, Bramlett launched his healthcare practice as a registered nurse at Mercy Health in Springfield, Missouri.

“The first step toward becoming a CRNA is to become a nurse,” he said. “Once I got into nursing, I stuck with it for a while before continuing on with school and pursuing CRNA. My goals changed for a while.”

Bramlett transferred to Arkansas with his job in January 2018. He enrolled in the online RN to BSN program at A-State the same month. The knowledge he gained in the curriculum provided him with the tools to move his career forward.

“I used what I learned in the program immediately at work, like how to research and APA style formatting, which was new to me,” he said. “Learning to create papers in that format was interesting.”

The RN to BSN Capstone was Bramlett’s favorite course in the program’s curriculum, although he also enjoyed Introduction to Nursing Informatics and Human Anatomy and Physiology II.

“Writing the paper and doing the project were good experiences,” he said. “I did my project on alcohol-impregnated caps, which are caps with a disc that has alcohol on it that screws onto IV tubing and lines. It eliminates any pathogens that can cause infections. They don’t seem like much, but they’re pretty effective if used the right way.”

Going Big

Bramlett is the first person in his immediate family to earn a college degree. He looks forward to seeing which direction his career takes.

“I would like to work in informatics and technology or in utilization review,” he said. “Bedside has been a great experience — it’s been a rewarding career.

“Long-term, it’s hard to keep that up mentally. When you want to start a family, the schedule also isn’t the best, so something with more normal hours would be great.”

Speaking from experience, Bramlett said that finding the ideal program is important to the success of earning a degree online.

“Keep an open mind while you’re getting into it,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to the staff because they’re very responsive and informative. They’re very helpful — especially for it being an all-online program.”

For now, Bramlett is gaining valuable experience as a travel nurse while enjoying fishing, hunting and playing pickleball. Even though it took a while, he is glad that he found A-State’s online RN to BSN program.

“I one hundred percent believe that this degree is valuable,” he said. “A lot of companies and jobs want bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses. It opens a ton of doors that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

“I definitely got good value out of the program. It feels good to be finished, but it was a great experience, for sure.”

Learn more about A-State’s online RN to BSN program.

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