As a teenager in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Greta Shealy worked at the Johnstown Flood Museum, which shared the history of the disastrous 1889 dam break just 14 miles west of town that killed 2,209 people.
“I grew up hearing the stories of the nurse Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, who arrived in Johnstown five days after the flood,” says Greta. “Clara Barton was held up as an incredible hero in our town and I knew everything about her bringing a team of 50 nurses and doctors to treat and house flood survivors by the time I was 13 years old.”
That influence led Greta down her own path toward nursing. In high school, her family moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she decided to attend the Medical University of South Carolina after she graduated. She earned the BSN in 1986 and became a labor and delivery nurse.
Experience Around the Country
Greta’s husband was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force when they first married, and his service took them to California for five years followed by North Carolina and South Carolina. She worked at Lexington Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, for nine years before setting aside her own career to care for her children. “My husband would get deployed and we had no family nearby to help and it became difficult to find childcare for my night shifts,” she says. She started working as a volunteer nurse through her church, which led to a paid position as the church executive assistant.
A Return to Her Passion
Once her four children were older, Greta returned to nursing as a psychiatric nurse for a home health and hospice company, while returning to PRN work at her previous mother/baby job at the hospital. “It was great experience that got me back into nursing,” she says.
But when Greta’s elderly mother back in Myrtle Beach needed help, she stopped her career to move in with and care for her. “Before COVID hit, I did some home assessment and disease management on contract with Humana and I worked it around my mom’s needs,” she says. During this time, Greta also began thinking about bettering herself with a master’s degree.
Time for an MSN
Greta’s interest in an MSN arose when she was laid off due to COVID. She wanted to strengthen her resume for the time that she returned to the workforce. “I actually had no idea that case management was an MSN specialization I could pursue, but so much of what I’d been doing with Humana and while caring for my mother was case management,” Greta says. She began doing research on programs that would fit her interests and skills and came across American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
When she read about the MSN Case Management, Greta says she felt an “immediate peace” come over her. She started the program in September 2020. “It was the program for me, and it was online, which was great for my life and schedule,” she says. “The generous discount for military families and the MSN Powered by SIMPath® was really appealing too, because it worked around my schedule. I liked that it was competency based so I could share my knowledge from my years of experience.”
An Ideal Experience
Greta will graduate with the MSN Case Management in February 2022. Although she is still figuring out what she wants to do next when she is finished, she’s sure that the right opportunity will present itself. “I know I want to work in case management, whether that’s working for a hospital in discharge planning or for an insurance company or some other setting. I just want to continue to help patients in some capacity.”
American Sentinel has been an ideal experience during which Greta has learned and grown in a multitude of ways. “I would definitely recommend this program and American Sentinel,” says Greta, who now serves on American Sentinel’s Graduate Student Advisory Board. “I’ve loved the experience and I almost hate that it is coming to an end. As time-consuming as it has been, I have grown. I’m glad I made this investment in my future.”