Select Page

Post University Blog

As a high school student in Georgia, Halea Caudill participated in a dual enrollment pathway to earn her Certified Nurse Aide credential while pursuing her high school diploma. “That’s when I realized how much I enjoyed patient care and that nursing was my ultimate goal,” says Halea. However, after graduating in 2010, she worked as a patient care technician at Cartersville Medical Center first while saving up money for nursing school.” The nurturing aspect of being a patient care technician fit Halea well. She worked in the acute care setting, first on an inpatient medical tech unit, then in the emergency room and the admission area.

A Physical Move and a Career Move

Going back to school to become a nurse was never a matter of “if,” but “when.” After six years as a patient care tech, Halea started a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program at a university in her town, attending part time while continuing to work as a patient tech. In 2018, she graduated with the BSN and sought to continue taking care of people in a medical-surgical setting. She was offered a nurse position in the surgical unit of Piedmont Fayette Hospital, which led her to move to Fayetteville, where she still lives and works today.

Next Goal: MSN

It did not take long for Halea to enroll in an online master of science in nursing (MSN) program. “I knew that I wanted to have bigger opportunities later in my career, and that a master’s degree would be important to do that,” she says.

But after starting classes in February 2020, her world was turned upside down when the COVID pandemic hit the U.S. “There was so much stress at work and so many unknowns for nurses,” she says. Halea had to put her educational pursuits on the back burner. She began teaching clinicals as an adjunct through University of West Georgia, and in 2022, she accepted the residency coordinator position at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. Her role involves overseeing new graduate nurses who are transitioning to practice and teaching clinicals.

Finding Post University, American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences

In March 2023, Halea attended a nurse educator’s conference and gave a presentation about her hospital’s efforts to equip nurses with the right skills. “That was a turning point, because I realized I was doing things in my job that master’s-prepared nurses were doing,” she says. “I decided I needed the education too.”

She connected with a representative from Post University at the conference. “I saw how invested she and the entire team at Post are about helping students achieve their goals, and it was impactful,” she says. Given her current role in clinical education, the Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership Specialization through American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post looked like a fit. In April 2023, Halea started the SIMPath MSN program.

Fulfilling Dreams and Planning Goals

Halea’s goals in earning the MSN – Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership Specialization are multifaceted. First, she hopes to become a director at the hospital. Longer term, she would love to move into a leadership role—and she is even thinking about earning a doctor of nursing practice eventually.

On a more personal note, adding to her knowledge base allows her to provide the best possible care to people in need. Since 2022, Halea has volunteered with Medical Missions Outreach to provide medical services to underserved people. She, along with teams made up of doctors, other nurses, physical therapists and other health care professionals, travel to countries like Mexico twice a year to ensure continuity of care.

A Recommended Program

After a three-week medical mission trip in August 2023—and a short break from her MSN studies—Halea resumed classes in the fall. Her plan is to finish the MSN in the spring 2024. “I appreciate that I can work at my pace,” she says. “I can take a few weeks to do these trips that are important to me. I can read chapters and do homework early in the morning or late at night. The flexibility is another amazing part of the SIMPath MSN option.”

Nursing has provided Halea many opportunities that she is excited about, and the future is just as bright. “I became a nurse, then became an educator two years into my career and was successful with it even as a newer nurse, and now I’m working as the residency coordinator for new graduate nurses,” she says. “I’m passionate about what I do, and I think that’s made me successful. It all feels like it is meant to be.”