You choose a nursing career to answer that calling you feel deep within you. A calling to help people, to grow, to be the best you can be. In fact, the key to truly great nursing is continuous improvement and lifelong learning. There’s always more to know, more to learn, more skills, more technology, more expertise, more insight … more of everything. Yet continuing nursing education can be not only difficult to squeeze into a busy professional and family life, but also expensive.
That’s why we want to celebrate two extraordinary BAYADA Pediatrics Nurses—Faustina Agu, RN and Samantha Aiesi, LPN. They both are committed to advancing their education and achieving new career goals, and they’re taking advantage of the BAYADA Presidential Scholarship program to do it.
Like many nurses, Faustina and Samantha have compelling personal and professional stories. They have overcome obstacles, recalibrated dreams, and pursued career goals that at one time seemed out of reach. In the process, they came to change how they viewed continuing education. They came to see it as much more than CE credits; it is the means to achieve their goals. Even with a life-changing personal loss and a global pandemic, they were never “too busy” to become the nurses they knew they could.
Please take a moment to read the interviews below and get to know these two talented, dedicated Heroes on the Home Front. The interviews have been edited for length and flow.
Tell us a little bit about your nursing career so far.
Faustina: I’ve been working as a home pediatrics nurse with BAYADA for seven years. Working here has been a great blessing for me, partly because I was awarded scholarships toward the past four years of my college classes. I can’t begin to thank everyone who made this possible.
Samantha: I have worked as an LPN for 14 years—the past seven with BAYADA. Work is my home away from home and I am grateful beyond words to be part of this team.
What are your educational goals at this point in your career?
Faustina: Though I feel I am well educated, I know I can always learn more. Doing this job has given me a drive and a new vision of what is possible. That’s why I’m working toward my BSN at Wilmington University.
Samantha: Though I have worked full-time as a nurse for many years, I also attend West Chester University full-time as a BSN candidate. As an older student and an experienced LPN, I’m drawn to the idea of helping young people. So, my goal right now is at least a master’s-level degree in nursing education.
How has your continuing education impacted your nursing career?
Faustina: It has definitely made me a better nurse. I’ve been able to take classes in everything from Statistics to Chronic and Palliative Care. I’ve learned how to listen carefully to patients’ feelings and experiences and to honor their values and beliefs.
Samantha: For me, it’s helping me keep current with fast-changing technology. I am a field LPN working primarily with high-tech clients. I recently started our office’s infant trach/vent (tracheostomy and ventilator care) certification training. Completing that will open the door for me to work with infants, which I would love to do.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to continue your nursing education?
Faustina: No more than most people. The hardest part is balancing everything—work, school, family… life! Especially when the hours sometimes include working nights. But if you want it, you make it work. That’s my feeling.
Samantha: I’ve had more than a few obstacles. I have two small daughters, Vada (4) and Claire (3). And I recently lost my husband to cancer. I say this only to point out that my education and professional goals are more important to me than ever now that I am the sole support of my family. The BAYADA Presidential Scholarship has been a godsend.
It’s tough out there balancing work, life, and learning. Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Faustina: I would say, recognize a good thing when you see it. Working here has given me a vision of myself I didn’t really have before. And thanks to that and the financial assistance, now my BSN is in sight. Aside from that I would add, be available for good fortune.
Samantha: When working and taking care of a family and going to school at the same time, just remember that the craziness is only temporary. Take things one semester, one week, one day, or one assignment at a time. Stressing over everything that needs doing will burn you out fast.
ARE YOU TOO BUSY?
Faustina and Samantha are inspirations. We hope their stories, their drive, and their focus encourage other nurses to take advantage of the many educational resources and financial assistance programs available to them, too. Nurses tend to be selfless, giving people. But no matter how busy work and life become, keeping yourself and your professional growth on your list of top priorities is good for your well-being, and those baby steps add up to the career of your dreams.
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