Vanessa Maybin always knew she wanted to help people, but she just didn’t know it would be as a nurse.
After high school, Vanessa earned her first bachelor’s degree in Health Service Administration and went to work for the Department of Elder Affairs. After several years working in administration, Vanessa realized she wanted a more hands-on role in healthcare. She decided becoming a nurse would be a better career fit.
While researching online, she came across Herzing University and saw that the school offered an accelerated nursing program that could be completed in three years or less.
“I wanted to get my degree done fast,” Vanessa said. “The process was easy, and the admissions department worked quickly. They were also transparent about the cost, and I loved that uniforms, books, and everything I needed was included.”
Vanessa enrolled in the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and began classes at Herzing’s Orlando campus in May 2018. She also accepted a federal work-study position that gave her more insight into the management side of nursing, including the importance of organizational, communication and problem-solving skills.
Vanessa was excelling in the program but left school in the middle of her second semester for family reasons.
“That was tough, especially because I was doing well,” Vanessa said. “I received a letter from Herzing encouraging me to come back and offering financial aid. I thought, ‘I know I can finish this,’ and I went back to Herzing in January 2019.”
While the accelerated program was fast-paced and intense, Vanessa committed to finishing it. She enjoyed learning about real-world experiences from her instructors and thrived during her clinical experiences. Herzing’s nursing faculty reminded her and her peers to treat all their clinical experiences as though they were soft interviews, and that paid off.
Vanessa earned her BSN in February 2020 and passed the NCLEX on her first attempt. She credits the nursing dean for helping her develop a focused studying strategy. In May 2020, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Vanessa accepted a registered nurse (RN) position at an Orlando hospital where she had previously done clinicals.
“In Florida, they expedited nursing licenses to help with the pandemic,” she said. “There were a lot of young nurses working together, teaching others, and I enjoyed that camaraderie.”
During the next six months, Vanessa floated across units and floors of the hospital and worked wherever they needed her most – sometimes in one of the COVID-19 units.
“I liked the change of pace that came with being floated, and I learned something new every day by working in many different units,” she said.
Then, one of her friends recommended she try becoming a travel nurse, which was in high demand because of the pandemic. Vanessa applied and accepted her first travel nursing position in Boston and later worked in Los Angeles and Texas.
“I like to try new things while always having my foot on stability, and you get a lot of control and flexibility through travel nursing,” Vanessa said. “I didn’t expect to love it so much, but as long as I’m taking care of people, I’m happy. It doesn’t matter where it is.”
Vanessa is still deciding where she wants to go and what she wants to do next, but she’s considering enrolling in a master’s program for Health Information Management.
“The possibilities are endless!” she said. “The financial independence nursing provides is great, and it’s even better when it’s aligned with your personal purpose.”
Her advice to aspiring nurses is to stay the course.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, just go and keep going until you finish. The rewards of working with a purpose and the career advancement you can gain is worth it.”