Brook Scalzo knows first-hand that earning your degree doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold.  In fact, she says completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) online at UA Little Rock has allowed her to keep working full-time and participate in all the activities she enjoys.

Brook, 30, spent most of her twenties pursuing an acting career in New York City after earning a BFA in Theatre. When she decided to become a nurse, she moved to Little Rock and attended UA Little Rock to be close to her family; but it was the quality of education and support she received that made her want to stay.

“Choosing UA Little Rock for my [associate’s] degree was luck. After attending the UA Little Rock ASN program, I knew I wanted to stay for my bachelor’s degree. The faculty are my friends and mentors, the facilities are extremely advanced, and the curriculum has been relevant to my career course and path at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.”

Brook said her professors helped her get a job at Arkansas Children’s Hospital before she became a registered nurse to see if it would be the right fit, and it was; but she didn’t want to stop there.

“I needed to continue working as a nurse while I advanced my degree,” she said. UA Little Rock’s online RN-to-BSN program allowed her to do that and more, and it only took her 18 months to complete.

“I was able to earn my baccalaureate degree while working as a full-time nurse, teaching and being active in the theatre community,” she said.

Brook didn’t feel like she missed out on any opportunities as an online student.

“I was able to continue my life on my schedule while advancing my education … Even as an online student, I felt recognized for my achievements and supported by my instructors.”

Brook was a recipient of a Walker Scholarship in 2013, and also volunteered to be part of UA Little Rock’s MyFuture@Work campaign. Upon her graduation from UA Little Rock in Spring 2015, she was still working at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

While she’s unsure what her next step will be, Brook seems confident that she’s now on the right track.

“I am hoping experience and opportunity will guide me; I know I will be happy in any field of nursing, “ she said. “I really feel that it is my calling.”

Advice for online students:

“I am a firm believer that you get out what you are willing to put in, in any situation. I think it is important to coincide the projects assigned with your goals at work. I was able to use class assignments to make real quality improvements in my practice and within my organization.”

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