Casey Randolph lives in Indiana, but Oklahoma will always be home.
In fact, the Broken Arrow native completed the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Administrative Leadership in Nursing program at Northeastern State University (NSU) in August 2021.
“I wanted to do something new,” said Randolph, who clocked 10 years as a nurse in January. “I have been a preceptor for the longest time. I enjoy process and quality improvement. I went back to school not exactly sure what I wanted to do, but I love education.”
Randolph found the answer to that question the same month that she graduated from NSU by landing a nursing professional development generalist position at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.
“The program gave me a well-rounded perspective with finance and human resource classes,” she said. “It’s interesting looking at it from a hospital administration perspective. You see what happens with the other roles that I have been dealing with at work.”
Flexibility with her schedule was an essential part of why Randolph was able to return to school for an advanced degree.
“It was important to me that NSU had a nursing master’s degree program that it adapted to the online format,” she said. The seal of approval from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) provided Randolph with assurance of the program’s quality and rigor.
“It was a little difficult because I was working two jobs at two different hospitals while I was in the program. Then, COVID-19 was stressful. When you get home at the end of the day, you don’t want to do anything, but the online format is very friendly.”
Better Than OK
Randolph didn’t know what career path she wanted to take after high school, but she was sure that she wanted to make a difference in the world.
“I love helping people; it still drives me,” she said. “When you are helping other nurses learn things, it gives you a good feeling knowing that they are taking care of patients.
“I always bring it back to: How do you want your mom, your grandma, your family taken care of? The goal is to hopefully give everybody that care.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 2006, she switched careers to nursing. Seven years later, Randolph graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
She spent more than five years as a registered nurse (RN) at the Medical University of South Carolina before moving to Indiana. She enrolled at NSU in January 2020.
“The MSN program gave me different perspectives than I have had before,” she said. “The discussions are great because you are speaking with other students.
“Some of those students are already working in management positions, and some of them are still at the bedside or somewhere in education and administration. You learn a lot from their experiences, too.”
However, learning unfamiliar material in the program wasn’t always easy for Randolph. Still, she is glad that she stayed the course.
“When I took Healthcare Finance and Economics, I cried,” she said. “I didn’t understand the terms. I didn’t know if I could do it. I went to my director for some assistance.
“I had a call with our chief financial officer, who was fantastic. He sent me some spreadsheets that he deals with and described the terms, which helped me out. I made it work.”
Randolph is the first person in her immediate family to earn a master’s degree. She views her graduation from an Oklahoma school as the icing on the cake.
“My family is very proud of me,” she said. “Earning the MSN in Administrative Leadership at NSU has already opened up career opportunities for me.”
Now that Randolph has completed the program, she believes the key to success is being accepting of the curriculum and assignments and willing to learn.
“You need to be ready and prepared to write papers and be open to that experience,” she said. “Graduate writing is definitely different. At first, it seems like a lot of busywork, but you definitely get something out of it.”
Randolph does not have an ultimate career goal in mind, but earning a master’s degree has given her a spark as she approaches her 10-year anniversary as a nurse. She enjoys reading, watching sports and going to the lake with her pets in her free time.
“I got a lot out of each course that I took and learned so much from them,” she said. “Overall, I got more out of the program than I expected.”
Learn more about NSU’s MSN in Administrative Leadership in Nursing online program.