Attending the University of Rhode Island is a family tradition for online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Deborah Kosior. All three of her sons, Patrick, Derek and Sean Aguiar, are URI graduates.
"The school has a great reputation," she said. "I looked at many different online programs. The University of Rhode Island's RN to BSN program was the most interesting. I work as a public health nurse. A lot of the curriculum is related to the nursing work I do."
In August 2018, Kosior will become the first URI nursing graduate in her family. One of her sons earned a liberal arts degree. The other two sons earned engineering degrees; one of them went on to earn his doctorate in computer engineering at Brown University after graduating from URI.
Kosior earned an Associate of Nursing from Community College of Rhode Island in 2000 and started a hybrid RN to BSN program at Boston's Labouré College 12 years later.
"The hospital where I worked was paying for three-quarters of the tuition," she said. "They wanted everyone to earn a BSN, so they were giving a great incentive. It ended up being a little bit too much because it was in Dorchester, Massachusetts. It was a very long drive from Tiverton, Rhode Island to Dorchester. I was taking care of my elderly mother and working a full-time job. This time around my life is less hectic. I am really enjoying the learning experience."
Kosior, who has just one nursing course left to complete, is happy she made the decision to return to school to complete the degree and broaden her nursing knowledge.
"Now, I understand the importance of pursuing advanced education," she said. "I have improved my critical thinking skills. The classes are interesting. The nursing staff and professors are supportive, providing help and assistance every step of the way. Pursuing my BSN has been a very enjoyable experience."
Kosior, who lives in Tiverton, Rhode Island, and works for Health and Human Services in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts, hopes to eventually transition into a career in hospice nursing.
"I love to help and care for people," Kosior said. "I'm a helping person. That's the reason why I chose to become a nurse."
Her NUR 444: Community/Public Health Nursing Practicum project provided Kosior with the opportunity to teach the seniors in the community about fall risk prevention. She taught a fall risk prevention presentation at two of the four local senior centers.
"It was a rewarding experience reaching out to the community and presenting information on a very important topic," she said. "I plan to visit the senior centers monthly to provide educational presentations. What I have learned in the nursing courses at the University of Rhode Island has created many opportunities to improve my nursing skills. Because of the positive response with the seniors after my presentation of fall risk prevention, I now have the opportunity to revisit the senior centers and introduce additional topics of interest."
The online format has helped Kosior balance time at work and at home with her husband, Ed, and their two dogs, a cocker spaniel named Cody and a golden retriever named Sam.
"It has been very good," she said. "Advanced education online is flexible. You can study and complete assignments when the time is convenient for you as opposed to leaving work, driving to school and sitting for four hours. It is a lot more doable. The convenience is wonderful."
She has also received plenty of support and encouragement from her family.
"My children are happy for me," Kosior said. "My husband and family have been supportive. I am learning so much. I will feel accomplished when I complete my BSN."
The Right Stuff
In addition to the knowledge Kosior has gained in the online RN to BS in Nursing program, the realization that she is following in her son's footsteps at URI made the experience even better.
"I am so pleased ... from the curriculum to the professors and nursing administration staff," she said. "They are so supportive. When I had a question, I contacted administration. The assistant dean called me back. I was wondering about my transfer classes from Labouré. She was so helpful.
"Everyone is very helpful. I don't think you get that with many of the online colleges. URI is a great school. I'm very satisfied."
Kosior would absolutely recommend the URI online RN to BS in Nursing program to any of her fellow nurses who want to earn a bachelor's degree.
"I would tell them that they really have to structure their time. Go onto Sakai (URI's online learning management software) every day," she said. "It's not the kind of thing where you can do nothing all week and then catch up at the end of the week.
"You have to stay up to date with the assignments and the readings. You'll also learn more and it will be less stressful. That was my problem the first time. It was a hybrid. It was online and going there. I wasn't in the right place to put my whole into it. I am now. It's very enjoyable."Learn more about the URI online RN to BS in Nursing program.