Charlet Blades, a Texas nursing professor, began her education by earning an Associate of Science in nursing in 2004 from Excelsior College. Five years later, she decided to go back to school for her Bachelor of Science in nursing, but her education was still not complete. In 2011, Blades earned a Master of Science in nursing from her undergraduate alma mater, this time turning to online education to complete her studies. Currently, Blades is thinking about returning to school once again to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2015.
Today, Blades is a mother of three and an instructor for licensed vocational nursing (LVN) and registered nursing (RN) programs at a local community college, inspiring others to get the education they need to become successful nurses. On top of that, Blades volunteers on the Houston County Child Welfare Board and is the co-founder of the Rainbow Room, an organization that provides crucial items – such as clothing, food and school supplies – to children who are in Child Protective Services custody.
We reached out to Blades to ask her to reflect on her own education and discuss what advice she would give prospective online master’s in nursing students.
Q: Why did you choose to earn your master’s in nursing online?
A: For me, the online program just made sense; I did not have to spend time traveling to and from classes, and I did not take time away from my family, job or life to continue my education.
I still had the benefit of input from other students in my virtual classrooms, and actually felt I had a better viewpoint of what is currently occurring in nursing all over America, as my ‘classmates’ were from all corners of the nation.
Q: What was it like balancing being a mother, employee and student?
A: My children were grown, and I have grandchildren, but having the flexibility to ‘attend class’ at my convenience allowed me to be to be an active participant in the lives of my grandchildren. I did continue to work full time and in fact was able to apply the knowledge as I learned in the projects that were used to earn both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Q: What advice would you give nurses/parents who want to go back to college for an online master’s degree?
A: Don’t wait, do it now!
I encourage people of all ages to follow their heart and continue their education; It will open doors you never dreamed possible. I now have the career I once dreamed about and it is all because I found a path to achieve the education that I once thought was not an option for me. I knew there was no way I would ever be able to take time off from my busy family and job to pursue the education necessary to attain the job I hoped for. But with Excelsior College it was not only possible – it was a reality!
Q: Are you glad you went back for a master’s? How has it benefited you?
A: I am so glad that I found the courage to start the journey toward continuing my education. I now have the career of my dreams. I am passionate about nursing and I love being a part of the future of nursing by educating the nurses of tomorrow.