February 5, 2019 | Katherine Adams
Shadia Yan loved her career as a registered nurse, and decided to advance her training with a bachelor of science in nursing. She graduated in December 2018 with her RN-BSN from University of Houston-Clear Lake at Pearland. Although it was initially a challenge to balance work, her education and a family, she said she got through it with plenty of support and encouragement from her professors in the nursing program.
“I graduated from San Jacinto College in 2001 and worked for 10 years as a RN. Then I took time off to raise my kids,” Yan said. “I looked at different programs during my time at home. I was really discouraged by online nursing programs. I needed to have a face-to-face program for my learning style.”
As Yan was considering her options, she went to an Open House event at UH-Clear Lake at Pearland. “I met (Nursing Program Director and Assistant Professor of Nursing) Karen Alexander and (Assistant Professor of Nursing) Sandra Jenkins,” she said. “I knew this program was face-to-face, and when I met Dr. Alexander and Dr. Jenkins, I loved talking to them. They were very positive and inspired me to move forward with my studies, and to help me succeed. I would never have received that from an online program.”
After talking to other nurses who had completed their degrees online, Yan looks back at her own time at UHCL Pearland and is confident she got a better education. “I was mentored by my professors,” she said. “I was able to build relationships and share my experience with others. For me, the face-to-face option was the differentiator. So that, along with knowing I would have great professors, is why I went ahead and enrolled.”
However, there was still one obstacle to be cleared: Yan said that during the years she had taken off to raise her children, her nursing license had become inactive. “In having an inactive license, I needed to complete a refresher course,” Yan explained. “Texas requires that if you haven’t worked in five years, you need these courses to reactivate your license.”
Although she was concerned about getting through the process of reactivating it, Yan said that Alexander assured her that she’d help her get it done. “She was there to say, ‘This is not as hard as you think,’” Yan said. “Getting started was the hardest part, but Dr. Alexander said we could do this and said there was no reason to wait -- just get going.”
“Shadia was so hardworking and dedicated to her learning experiences in each class,” Jenkins said. “Her determination to obtain her bachelor’s degree and enter her nursing practice was evident. We wanted to do all we could and encourage her to get it done.”
Yan spent the needed 80 hours in the hospital setting to fulfill the refresher requirement, although it’s possible to go ahead with the BSN program without an active license. “As long as you are a registered nurse and you’ve been licensed, you can do it,” she said. “Dr. Alexander, Dr. Jenkins and (Lecturer of Nursing) Shatori King helped me so much, I felt like my education was as important to them as it was to me. They knew how badly I wanted to get my BSN, and helped me to achieve it. I’d say my relationship with my professors was a vital part of my success.”
Upon graduating, Yan began a new position as a pediatric intensive care nurse at Clear Lake Regional Hospital, now called HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake.
She said that she felt that she could go back to any one of her professors 10 years from now and they’d remember her and help her if she needed it. “They are all so passionate about continuing education for nurses,” she said. “For anyone who thinks it’s too hard, I want to tell them it’s been amazing for me, and I know it could be amazing for others as well.”
Alexander said that being a nurse is not just a profession, it’s a calling. “It’s imperative for us to take care of those in need, and Shadia needed our help to continue her career in nursing,” she said. “What better way than to help her reactivate her license. Professor King also helped mentor and guide her through the process, and as a BSN graduate and current with her license, Shadia is now a better version of herself personally and professionally.”
Her professors were so inspirational to her, Yan said, that her next goal is to achieve her master’s in nursing and get into teaching as well. “I love the way they motivate nurses to become better nurses,” she said. “We don’t have enough nurse educators who are as passionate as they are. It made a world of difference to me. My UHCL Pearland professors have been such an influence on me, I would like to encourage and inspire others in that way too.”
For more information about UHCL's Nursing Program, visit www.uhcl.edu/nursing.