Tell us more about your story. What catalyzed the change of trajectory for your career?
Marques: I’m a breast cancer survivor. I felt, being as lucky as I was to survive that, that I really needed to give back. In 2005, I decided to go to Coconino Community College, where I now teach, to get my Associate’s Degree in Nursing. I'm a Certified Oncology Nurse. Because I've laid in the bed and I've been where my patients have been, I get how they're appropriately mourning the loss of a life they had before they found out they had cancer.
What made you pursue your BSN?
Marques: I dragged my feet. I didn't want to do it, because I was already working full-time, and I had daughters to care for and a sick mom at the time. Just the thought of going back to school again at 45 years old was like, "Ugh." But after my mom passed away, I decided it was what she would have wanted me to do. She was a nurse, also. Now, I'm pushing my ADN students to get their BSN, and I encourage them to consider various programs, including ASU.
Why was ASU Online the right choice for you?
Marques: At the time, my husband worked at Northern Arizona University, which I considered. They still had clinicals, and I didn’t want to do extra time in the hospitals because I already had that experience. ASU’s program fit better into my schedule, and I knew that a degree from ASU carried a lot of clout. I finished in 13 months, and it was a fabulous program. I even had two daughters get married when I was completing my degree, and my professors were understanding and flexible during that very busy time.
How did an online education translate for a degree in nursing, a very hands-on field?
Marques: It translated very well. In your BSN, you’re learning about management and leadership, and a lot about the health community, populations at risk, and evidence-based practice. You're reading articles, you're reading books, and you're doing discussion questions that you can apply to what is going on in your nursing practice at that moment, at the bedside. There was group work, there were discussion groups, and ASU put a lot of emphasis on evidence-based practice.
Now, you have your Master’s in Nursing and you’re an instructor at Coconino Community College, where you got your ADN. How did your education through ASU Online prepare you for being at the front of the classroom?
Marques: Just like teaching, nursing is so much about education. You're spending so much time educating your patients about a new drug or a new lifestyle, or the exercises they must do to recover from a stroke. As a nurse, you're educating your patients, their families, and you're educating yourself, because your patient may say to you, "Well, what is blah, blah, blah?" and you have to call on your research skills to find out and give them the right answer.