Hawaii and beyond for nursing alumna

“I don't believe in needing to go to expensive colleges. It’s all about experience,” said nursing alumna Sarah Jasmer. “I like that MSUM is a smaller campus because you feel like you get more out of it. You aren’t just a number, which was huge for me.”

After getting her RN license, Jasmer returned to MSUM to complete her BSN. Practicing as an RN while working toward her BSN helped Sarah gain broad proficiency to transition to traveling nursing.   

Sarah worked in a birthing unit at Maple Grove (Minn.) Hospital when beginning her career as a traveling nurse. She worked full time at the hospital, and on her off days, she picked up traveling shifts at area hospitals. She said she didn’t know what to expect each day until showing up, but she grew immensely through the process.

“I learned to acclimate pretty well to new environments and I got to meet so many interesting people,” she said.

The local travel experience cemented her interest in traveling beyond Minnesota. When the opportunity arose to travel to Hawaii as a nurse, she jumped at it.

“I took the assignment in Hawaii for 13 weeks, and I island-hopped the whole time,” Jasmer said. “I saw a lot of uncontrolled diabetes and people addicted to drugs. It wasn’t what I expected. It’s a very different population,” she said.

She saw a lot of poverty and people who had medical needs as a result. She said that experiencing different populations, environments and health systems is not something that can be learned from a book or a class.   

She credits MSUM for giving her a solid foundation to build her nursing career. 

“There’s a public health element built into MSUM’s program,” she said. “We did a lot in the community and I really liked that. You have the opportunity to see what your niche is and what you like.”

She said her time working in public health through her MSUM courses was the only time she’d done anything nursing-related outside of the hospital. 

“You deal with people from all walks of life. A lot of it is helping the population as a whole in the area that you live,” she explained.

Working as a nurse and pursuing her RN to BSN required creating a plan for her future. She found guidance in her advisor, Carol Roth.

“She was the perfect advocate for me,” Jasmer said. “She listened to me and she gave me a good, smooth plan to follow so I could get achieve my goal in the least amount of time.”  

The size of the campus community and MSUM’s values stood out to Sarah.

“Instructors do more one on one. As a result, it felt more cohesive and it was easier to get to know people,” she said. “Many of my classmates worked full time while pursuing their BSN. The hands-on experience and fellow nurses sharing their experiences was priceless.”

She knows that beyond the books, nurses rely on experiences – and she found that in her education at MSUM.

“Nursing is an interesting profession because it’s very individualized and there are so many diverse avenues to pursue,” Jasmer said.

One of her experiential learning components was in a nursing home following the administrator. 

“Having the ability to choose the healthcare environments you wanted to experience before graduating was valuable,” Jasmer said. “My professors helped apply my interests to my academics so that when I graduated, I was well-equipped to pursue the path I wanted.”

No matter Jasmer’s next career transition, she’ll be ready.

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