Nurses and friends for over 20 years go back to school together

Mar. 23, 2016 By: Goldfarb School of Nursing

<span>Nurses and friends for over 20 years go back to school together</span>

Goldfarb School of Nursing RN-to-BSN program provides outlet for advancement Michelle Avanzado, Bridget Herbst, Rhonda Allen and Andi Thomas have been good friends for more than 20 years. The four friends are also RNs who work together in the obstetrics unit at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Last year, Avanzado received an email from Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing about the school’s RN-to-BSN degree program with details about an informational meeting. Avanzado, who received her RN degree nearly 30 years ago from Missouri Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, had always thought about going back to school one day to get her BSN degree.

“I was 19 years old when I obtained my RN degree and got a job. Now that my kids are older, I knew this was the time I could focus on getting my advanced degree in nursing,” says Avanzado. “I was interested in the Goldfarb program because of the online coursework, and with it being an accelerated program, I could graduate in one year, while still working.”

Avanzado and her three friends, each with more than 25 years of nursing experience, attended the informational meeting. In January 2015 all four enrolled in nursing school to complete their bachelor’s degree together in the RN-to-BSN program at Goldfarb School of Nursing. BJC’s tuition assistance program for employees helped to offset the cost.

“The RN-to-BSN program at Goldfarb is streamlined — designed for full-time study with the efficiencies comparable to those of part-time programs,” says Michael Bleich, PhD, dean at Goldfarb School of Nursing and president of Barnes-Jewish College. “The positive outcomes tied to this program include advanced knowledge acquisition and enhanced clinical abilities in a compressed schedule so that RNs can move along with their lives and careers.”

Goldfarb’s RN-to-BSN program is primarily an online course of study for licensed, registered nurses. The program prepares nurses for broader roles with curriculum-enhancing professional communication, theoretical perspectives, community and population based nursing care, and leadership. The degree program broadens a nurse’s view of the profession and provides a wider range of experiences, allowing nurses to better adapt to an ever-changing health care environment.

“Now more than ever, a BSN has become essential for career advancement in nursing,” notes Avanzado.

On Dec. 19, 2015, Avanzado, Herbst, Allen and Thomas all graduated with honors from the program, with Thomas receiving the highest grade point average in her class. All of the new grads say the BSN will enhance the care they provide to their patients, some of whom are just a few minutes old, enabling them to make a bigger difference in many lives — in addition to their own.
For more information about the program, email [email protected], call 314-454-7055 or visit