New ADN-to-BSN Scholar: 'Exhausted' and 'Grateful'

Aug 20, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by

Ariel Eby is a scholar in the new ADN-to-BSN bridge program at California State University, Los Angeles, which is funded by the California Action Coalition through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative. The California Action Coalition is a part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a collaborative effort backed by RWJF and AARP to transform nursing and improve health and health care.


I never thought it was possible to be so exhausted and so grateful at the same time. These last few years have proven to be the most challenging of my life, but the most rewarding at the same time.

"I want to spend the rest of my life eating, drinking, living, learning, and teaching nursing."

When I say I'm exhausted, I'm not exaggerating. When I first heard about the debut of the ADN-to-BSN bridge program at California State University-Los Angeles, I didn’t think there was any way I could make it work. I have three jobs. I’m already in a program getting my associate degree in nursing (ADN)—and am getting married later this summer, the day after the first quarter ends. “There's no way!” I thought. 

But where there's a will there’s a way, I'd soon find out.

My fiancé stopped me before I’d even finished explaining the program to him. “If you want to do this, we’ll make it work, no matter what,” he said. All the stars lined up, and I ended up with immeasurable support from my family, my friends, my classmates, and my school. I feel so lucky to have been selected to participate in this unique program.

I’ve known I wanted to be a nurse my entire life. After a rotation at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles (CHLA), I knew what I’d suspected for years—I want to work in pediatrics. I had been so excited about getting my ADN and starting my nursing career that I really hadn’t even thought about advancing my education at the moment. During my stay there, I realized that CHLA hires almost exclusively registered nurses (RNs) with bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSNs), so I knew that my next step was going to come sooner rather than later. I just didn’t know that a BSN program would fall into my lap so quickly!

This program has been a breath of fresh air, and I am so pleased to get a head start on advancing my education.

Our first quarter of classes includes a meaty course on pathophysiology, which has given us more depth to our understanding of the human body and of disease processes; a class on health assessment, which has fine-tuned our hands-on and communication skills; and a course on nursing informatics, which has helped bring us up to speed technologically so that we’re ready for the ever-advancing medical field.

I’ve felt my confidence in my nursing skills improve drastically in the mere six weeks I’ve been at Cal State, Los Angeles, and I can’t wait to reap the benefits when I return to Pasadena City College for my last semester there this fall. It feels like we got a cheat sheet for both real-world nursing and for our licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN.

I began the year with a thrilling opportunity to sit on the Nurses’ Float in the Rose Parade, and will end it graduating with my ADN. It’s been a year jam-packed with nursing, and I’m so excited for the years to come. I’ve always been one to bite off more than I should chew, and I have the feeling that years like this will become even more of a norm for me.

I want to do everything. I want to wrap up this stage of my education and get out onto the floor. I want to make a marked difference on the lives of pediatric patients and their families. I want to be a rock for them during those times when their world is crumbling. I want to spend the rest of my life eating, drinking, living, learning, and teaching nursing.

This program has given me a head start and limitless opportunities, and for that I am forever grateful. And still a little tired.

Read about the new ADN-to-BSN program at California State University, Los Angeles.
Learn more about the RWJF APIN initiative.
Learn more about the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.