Nacole Riccaboni MBA Student

Nacole Riccaboni* was inspired to become a nurse because of the thoughtful attention she got decades ago from a compassionate caregiver.

She eventually earned a degree and became a full-time nurse. But having an impact on patients, while satisfying, wasn’t quite enough. Riccaboni, a critical-care nurse in Orlando, Florida, recently enrolled in Capella’s MBA program via FlexPath, with the aim of developing her business background and managerial skills. Her goal? Make significant changes in the world of health care.

*Actual Capella learner who’s compensated for appearing in Capella promotional materials.

Here, Riccaboni talks about her nursing start, her decision to pursue and MBA, and her experience with FlexPath.

Q. Why did you decide to enter nursing?

A. When I was 12 years old, my mother, brother, and I were involved in a drunk-driving accident. At the emergency department, I met a nurse named Ms. Green. She was nice to me. She gave me a teddy bear. I was crying, wondering where my mother and brother were, and Ms. Green told me, “They’re not here but I’m going to take care of you.” I never forgot how much she cared for me and that event was a motivating factor in me wanting to become a nurse.

Q. You have a passion for exercise—indoor cycling, jiu-jitsu, and more. Why?

A. I want my patients to be healthy—obviously—so I try to be a role model. But I’m also interested in health and fitness because my husband had a heart attack when he was 29 years old. He was overweight and a smoker with poor eating habits. One day he had shoulder pain, when we went to the hospital, and they told us he was having a heart attack. He then subsequently needed a quadruple coronary artery bypass graft.

After the cardiac surgery, he had to receive an enormous amount of cardiac rehab. He learned how his past choices couldn’t be repeated and he focused on cardiovascular wellness. When you’re younger, you think you’re invincible, but it was a series of bad health choices that of got us there. He turned his life around, lost weight, started running marathons, and eating healthy foods. He’s my inspiration and motivated me to get healthy.

I too struggled with poor eating habits. I myself had gastric bypass surgery three years ago. I’ve lost 160 pounds. We’re both much healthier than we were in our 20s.

Q. Why did you decide to purse an MBA?

A. During my nursing clinicals, I realized that management skills and business background could be useful in health care. Many nurse practitioners don’t just perform and promote health care, they’re also managing small clinics. You don’t really get that managerial skill set while learning how to become a nurse practitioner. You’re mostly focus on disease-based education, in my opinion.

My long-term goal is to open my own clinic and to take care of people in my community. That’s going to require business and managerial skills that my nurse practitioner program hasn’t provided me.

Q. Why did you choose Capella’s FlexPath learning format?

A. I wanted a program that could work with my family, my job, and my lifestyle. When I researched programs and found FlexPath, it seemed like it was the only format that would work for me. I’m busy: I go to school full-time; I have a son and a husband who need my attention. And then I work basically every weekend. With FlexPath, I can juggle it all. Setting my own pace and deadlines allows me to spend time on my MBA when my job, family, and lifestyle allow.

Q. Now that you’ve started FlexPath, how is it going?

A. Honestly, my first paper was a complete disaster. I read all the course material, but I wasn’t getting it. All the basic concepts were foreign to me, and I couldn’t relate. Then I had an epiphany. I stopped thinking of the course as a “business class.” I started thinking about it as “life education.” All these business concepts can be applied to nursing and my personal life.

After that, things started clicking. I feel this class is changing how I see the world, in a good way, and I’m excited about the next assignment and to continue on my MBA journey.

Follow Nacole on her MBA journey, and tweet #FlexPath to ask her about her FlexPath experience.

Learn more about Capella’s online MBA, available in FlexPath and GuidedPath learning formats.

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