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MSN – Nursing Education Specialization Alumna Begins Teaching Career After 23 Years in Oncology

Allison Clobes was familiar with the field of nursing from a young age. Her mother was an office manager of a cardiology practice and her older sister attended a nursing school near her hometown in Delaware.

So, when the time came for Allison to choose her own path, she followed in her sister’s footsteps and enrolled in the same school. She worked as a patient care technician at the connected Beebe Medical Center during school and joined the hospital as an orthopedic nurse after graduating and passing her state board exams in 1999.

Discovering Her Passion

After a year and a half working with oncology patients on the orthopedic unit, Allison was encouraged by one of the hospital physicians she worked with to apply to Beebe Medical’s outpatient oncology area, the Tunnell Cancer Center. As it turned out, it was the best advice.

“I fell in love with nursing at Tunnell and really connected with the patients there,” says Allison. “I had patients who improved after treatment and terminal patients who made the decision to stop treatment after exploring all the options. We helped patients and families find closure and peace, which was an opportunity I felt privileged to have.”

Expanding Her Skillset

In 2014, Allison decided to pursue a goal she’d had in the back of her mind for many years: a bachelor’s degree. Years earlier, she had enrolled in a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program at a nearby university, but put it on pause when she became pregnant with her first child in 2002. This time, she was determined to finish what she had started. She attended an education fair at Beebe Medical, connected with representatives from an online university, and restarted her studies.

Around the same time, Allison was seeking a change and moved into process improvement at Beebe Medical after 14 years as a floor nurse. She worked on both patient education and nurse education. “As we grew, I made sure that new nurses were trained on best practices and new policies,” she says. When the COVID pandemic hit, Beebe Medical moved all nurses back to the floor. Having been out of staff nursing for many years, Allison felt out of her element, but was committed to supporting her hospital and community. She also finished the BSN in summer 2020.

MSN – Nursing Education Specialization via SIMPath®

The pandemic made Allison think about her life and her goals. “A friend was pursuing a Master of Science Nursing at American Sentinel [now American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University] and mentioned it to me,” says Allison. She explored the Master of Science in Nursing program for herself and liked what she saw—but after a long journey to earn the BSN, Allison wanted to expedite the MSN. “Financially, the SIMPath® program made so much sense. I loved the idea of really focusing on school and finishing the MSN as quickly as possible.”

When choosing a specialization, Allison says she considered the parts of her job she loves most. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching patients and families about managing cancer and treatments and training and mentoring other nurses,” she says. “Going with the MSN – Nursing Education Specialization was mostly about gaining new knowledge to make me a better nurse.”

On the Fast Track to Finish in One Year

Alison started the MSN – Nursing Education Specialization in September 2021 with a goal of completing four classes each 16-week semester via SIMPath®. She received tuition reimbursement from Beebe Medical and applied for and was awarded the Rural Scholarship from American Sentinel—as she has worked in population health for Beebe since 2001, travelling to small communities throughout Delaware to provide free health screenings and vaccinations. With a lot of diligence and strong time management, Allison completed the degree in fall 2022.

A New Career Chapter

When a full-time teaching position at Delaware Technical Community College came across Allison’s radar in 2023, the timing seemed right to put her MSN – Nursing Education Specialization into practice.

“Teaching the next generation of nurses seemed like an awesome opportunity and a chance to do something new after 23 years,” Allison says. She was hired after a rigorous interview process and started as a nursing instructor in January 2024. She will complete months of training and shadowing before teaching her own classes in the college’s Associate Degree of Nursing program in fall 2024. At Beebe Medical, she’ll continue to work in population health on an as-needed basis.

Earning the MSN – Nursing Education Specialization was such a positive experience for Allison, she is considering starting a doctorate within the next year—possibly at Post University. “I recommend American Sentinel and Post for the self-paced program and the great support,” she says. “I feel well-prepared to teach. I went to Post for the education, not just the degree itself. I put a lot into it, so I got a lot out of it too.”