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Let a Master's Take You From Staff Nurse to Manager

November 25, 2020 by Karen Grossman |

Illustration of nurse transitioning to administrator

When Kellei Agostinelli could no longer climb the clinical ladder with her Associate Degree in Nursing, she pursued not one but two nursing degrees. She completed both at UNC Greensboro.

She completed UNCG’s RN-BSN program and was promoted to Clinical Nurse IV after graduation. Knowing she wanted a management position eventually, Agostinelli continued with the fully online MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management (formerly Nursing Administration).

The Right Program

Agostinelli says the online format provided many networking opportunities during the clinical hours, which she completed in the same hospital where she worked. This networking led to her current position as Patient Service Manager for the Children’s Specialty Clinic in Chapel Hill, NC. 

“The program was essential for learning the leadership skills that are not always easy to pick up on the fly,” she says. 

She intends to apply for a director position in the future and also plans to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree if one becomes available online.

Managing a Crisis

Those skills and experience have proved essential lately. “The curriculum being online significantly helped to prepare me for the COVID crisis we are currently enduring,” she says. 

Managing staff has been a challenge because her clinic was closed and her staff were temporarily reassigned to other locations. “My very face-to-face job has morphed into management via online means — from modules, to meetings, and email chains very similar to discussion boards.”

Time for Work, Study, and Life

During the program, the online platform gave Agostinelli the flexibility to balance her work and life. Being able to work at her own pace was a huge plus for the full-time working mom. It meant she could do coursework at her own pace — after work, when her kids slept, and on weekend days.

“I didn’t have to worry about them not knowing where I was or not being at home with them,” she says.

Opportunities for Interaction

Distance learning provided the interaction she desired — networking opportunities, accessibility to professors, and time to get to know classmates through online meetings and projects.

Her group assigned roles such as researching equipment and developing staffing for a budget and finance class project. They completed much of the work through online chat rooms.

The program’s variety of assignments included group work, lectures, papers, and article and literature reviews.

“We did a lot of discussion boards, which was a neat way to be able to get other people’s opinions and thoughts and ideas on topics when you’re not sitting in a classroom environment,” Agostinelli says.

Preparation for the Future

The master’s coursework prepared Agostinelli for the promotion she landed before graduating from the program.

The practicum stands out as her most valuable course. “That’s where you were able to do the most practical work and see the people in action that you were hoping to someday be,” she says. “It gave me insight into what I was going to be doing once I did get the management position.”

Learn More

For more about the online MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management, visit the program website.


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