People who enter helping professions often say that they discovered their passion early in life.

That was definitely the case for Donna Meyer, the Chief Executive Officer of the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN). As a teen, she got a job as a candy striper interacting with children at a hospital in St. Louis. She loved the work. “Kids give so much to you,” Meyer says. “They make you look at life differently.”

When it came time to go to college, Meyer settled on a psychology major. But the studies didn’t engage her, and after two years she decided to take a break from school to figure out what she really wanted to do. “My sister took me aside and said, ‘Look, you always loved working with people. You should be a nurse,’” Meyer recalls. “It was very good advice.”

Meyer got her degree and eventually landed a position as a staff nurse at a large metropolitan children’s hospital.  But as her role evolved, she found herself training and teaching others, and the idea of going back to school seemed like a good idea.

She earned a master’s and landed a position at a local community college. It was an amazingly good fit, and she stayed for 32 years, serving on the teaching faculty and working in administration. As a leader, Meyer also took the initiative to start a nurse-managed clinic. “I believe it’s the only community college in the country that operates one,” Meyer says. “That was a real passion to make sure our community had access to health care.”

 

The Value of Ongoing Education

For Meyer, additional education brought career opportunities. “If you aspire to be in management in health care, you probably know that most positions are going to require a bachelor’s degree or more,” she says.

That’s one reason why OADN, the organization Meyer now leads, has partnered with Capella University to encourage nurses to pursue additional education. Capella and OADN together offer a $10,000 OADN Partner Grant on DNP and PhD in Nursing Education programs. More scholarships are available (up to $5,000, and 10% discount) for bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs.

“Capella and OADN share a common interest: we both support academic progression and career advancement,” Meyer says. “This partnership is a real benefit to our membership.”

“It is our shared vision to help working adults advance their careers and transform lives”  says Jennifer Dixson Hoff, Vice President and General Manager of Capella’s College of Nursing, Health and Behavioral Sciences, in response to the partnership and scholarships with OADN.  “This collaborative approach will also ensure even more nurse leaders will be prepared for board appointment and service, a mission and vision both OADN and Capella share with their dual commitment to the Nurses on Board’s Coalition”.

In today’s rapidly changing health care environment, nursing education is vital. Leaders in nursing often need to know about business, operations, human resources, and policy if they intend to remain relevant.

“We still need strong capable nurses with good bedside manner,” Meyer says. “But we also need more nurses with an understanding of management, leadership, and the broader issues in health care.” Ongoing education, she says, is often a key element to expanding your professional capabilities.

 

Find out how Capella University takes part in shaping the future of nursing.