From Floor Nurse to Manager: Debra’s Story

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014

Nurse Debra Eppley, RN, BSN, was working as a floor nurse when she enrolled in an RN-to-BSN online program at Kaplan University. After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing, she was able to step up to head her department and increase her salary and personal satisfaction.

[Learn more about all of Kaplan’s nursing degree programs.]


Debra Eppley loved her job as a floor nurse in labor and delivery but knew that there was something more she wanted to do. “I just needed to step out and do something else for myself,” she describes. To do what she really wanted, she knew she needed a bachelor’s degree. She also wants to be able to help send all four of her children to college. “The thought of having that extra two-year degree bumps that salary up immensely,” she says. To help realize her dreams for herself and her kids, Eppley decided to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 


Eppley researched many online bachelor’s degree programs, and enrolled in Kaplan University. “You’re looking at price. You’re looking at length. You’re looking at clinical requirements, especially for me in nursing,” she recalls. “I kept coming back to Kaplan because it seemed to be the one that fit,” she said. She started her RN-to-BSN program and received the flexibility and support she needed to earn her degree online while continuing to work. “There were times I thought I was going to quit,” Eppley says. “Family life’s too much, working’s too much, school’s too much,” she thought. She credits Kaplan with helping her stick with her degree and achieve her goal. “They just want to see you succeed,” Eppley says, “and they want to help you get there.”


Soon after she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing, a job opened up at her hospital for Manager of Maternal Child Nursing. “I thought it’s too soon,” recalls Eppley. “I can’t be there yet,” she hesitated. With encouragement from family and coworkers, Eppley applied and was hired for the job.  Today, she manages the entire obstetrics nursing department. “It’s a huge feeling of pride,” says Eppley, and “financially, going back to school was a huge plus.” She is currently continuing her education with an MSN program at Kaplan University. Her advice? “Don’t take nine years to think about it like I did. Just do it!”


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