After a four-year hiatus from college, Violet Jones enrolled at Northeastern State University (NSU) to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016.
“I was searching online for master’s degree programs after I graduated,” she said. “NSU had been so good to me with the BSN program, so I decided to stick with it.”
Jones graduated from the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Informatics program at NSU in 2020. The following year, she landed her current role as a nurse educator at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
“NSU had the new nursing informatics degree and was very informative when I started asking questions about it,” she said. “It sounded right up my alley. Dr. Heather Fenton and Dr. Diana Mashburn were fabulous about helping me navigate such a young program.”
Coming into the master’s program, Jones was a veteran online student, so it’s fitting that she now has a nursing informatics degree. She was impressed by the faculty and staff at NSU.
“They run a very tight ship,” she said. “Everybody in that department is great. They are all on the same page about how things work.
“All of the courses and the programs within the nursing graduate degree are aligned to follow the same format — there isn’t any guesswork. You will figure it out after one eight-week course. It’s very intuitive.”
Jones was born in Tulsa but raised in Yukon, Oklahoma, the hometown of country singer Garth Brooks. She graduated with her first bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. She also has three associate degrees.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do afterward,” she said. “Graduate school was very far off for me. I started researching paramedic programs because a friend worked at American Medical Response.
“I worked a couple of years as a paramedic. Then, I went to nursing school and worked on the ambulance and in the ICU at the same time — that’s how I started in healthcare.”
Before working at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Jones spent nearly six years as an instructor at Tulsa Technology Center’s Broken Arrow Campus.
“Since I got my current job, I do interdisciplinary work with the informatics team and physician groups,” she said. “Everything I learned in the master’s program is applicable to [the work] I have done so far.”
Foundations of Nursing Informatics Practice was Jones’ favorite course in the online MSN in Nursing Informatics program curriculum.
“There were a couple of professors I really liked, including Dr. Mashburn and Dr. Fenton, who taught a class or two each,” she said. “The instruction in the program was a very positive experience overall.”
It didn’t take long for opportunity to knock after Jones graduated from the online master’s degree program.
“Once that happened, I started getting contacted left and right by not only recruiters but by headhunters,” she said. “I was getting at least 10 emails a week.
“They were all the type of jobs I was looking for, but I had a broader net cast because of the master’s degree. It opened up doors that I couldn’t believe — especially with the nursing informatics specialty.”
Against the Grain
Jones is happy that she decided to return to college and now has two degrees from NSU instead of one.
“My family and friends weren’t surprised at all,” she said. “The joke at the campus where I worked was, ‘She must be going back to get another degree.'”
With a background in healthcare and teaching and an advanced degree to her credit, Jones has options for the rest of her career. However, she is content where she is now.
“I keep asking myself about an ultimate career goal, but I never answer it,” she said. “I am nearing the point of pursuing terminal degrees. I don’t know if I’ll ever grow up. I like being in school so much. I started the master’s degree, and then I got a divorce. Then, there was the pandemic. It was a strange time.”
Jones enjoys reading, knitting, cooking and baking in her free time. She also enjoyed her time as an NSU student.
“I really liked the program, and I’d highly recommend it to anybody,” she said. “When people ask me what they should do, I tell them it was an overall good experience. I have nothing but great things to say about it.
“If you’re looking for an efficient way to go through a program, the NSU Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Informatics program is very put together. They are supportive. They try their best to help everybody succeed. It’s up to the individual, but the experience for both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees at NSU was fabulous.”
Learn more about NSU’s online MSN in Nursing Informatics program.