To Dorothy Ephault, nursing is much more than a job. It is a childhood dream fulfilled…a passion she has had from her first experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse.
The daughter of a nurse’s aide, Dorothy remembers going to work with her mother a few times and being inspired by the way she interacted with patients. “From then on, I told everyone that I was going to become a nurse one day,” she says. After graduating high school in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, she completed an LPN program and started her career at Mercy Hospital in Scranton.
From LPN to RN
After several years in the hospital setting and another few years as an LPN for an ear, nose, and throat doctor’s office, Dorothy realized that she could expand her career options if she became a Registered Nurse. She applied to a state university and earned an associate degree in 1999.
Dorothy worked in labor and delivery in a hospital for the next 14 years. Although she loved her job, she eventually decided to expand her experience. She joined Geisinger in 2014 and spent a few years in the intensive care unit, diabetes education, and even home health.
Back to Labor and Delivery and an Epiphany
After trying new things, Dorothy returned to labor and delivery in 2018. But a back injury caused her to rethink the job she had loved for so long. When her doctors told her in 2021 that she would need a less physically demanding position, she knew it was time to lay the groundwork for a change. “I knew that having a BSN was important, especially with me moving into different clinical areas,” she says. Having returned to Geisinger in 2021, she learned through a coworker that the hospital system has an educational partnership with Post University.
BSN Powered by SIMPath®
From her first phone call to American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University to learn about the RN to BSN program, Dorothy says things felt right. “I obviously had several coworkers who said good things, but my own experience was that admissions advisors were nice, welcoming, and really encouraging,” she says. “The other big reason I liked the program was the SIMPath option. I have a family and a busy life, and I like that I can work at my own pace around my schedule. The program was affordable too, and it all sort of fell into place.”
In December 2022, Dorothy switched into the post-anesthesia care unit at Geisinger Community Medical Center. Once she was up to speed, she started her first BSN course in March 2023. “So far, I love how things are set up,” she says. “There’s more for us to explore if we want to, but we’re guided at the same time.” Dorothy is aiming for a spring 2024 graduation from the BSN program.
A Long-Term Goal to Teach
After she finishes her BSN next year, Dorothy would like to continue on to earn a Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Education Specialization. She wants to teach clinicals at Geisinger and at a nursing school down the road.
“I love the bedside, and the PACU is easier on my back, but I know I will need to eventually stop working on my feet,” Dorothy says. Teaching, she feels, will be the perfect opportunity to share her knowledge and experience with the next generation of nurses. “I remember how scary it is in the beginning, and I’d love to help young nurses acclimate and build their confidence. That would be pretty amazing for the next stage of my career.”