Lauren Singley: Accelerating a Dream
For Lauren Singley, a student in the Radford University Carilion (RUC) Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program and native of Chesapeake, Virginia, a chance meeting on the treadmill started her on a journey to a healthcare career.
“I ran into the former mayor of Chesapeake, Alan Krasnoff, on the treadmill one day at the gym, and we started talking about the opportunities in certain career fields,” Singley recalled. “He told me about the growth available in healthcare and how those professionals always have the ability to advance their position and knowledge. It definitely got my attention and got me to thinking about what I wanted to do.”
At the time, Singley was a student in the School of Media Arts and Design at James Madison University (JMU). She says after her conversation with Krasnoff, she decided to switch to a health sciences major. Her initial thought was to become an occupational therapist, but another conversation with her best friend changed her course again.
Every single faculty member I met on my tour was full of excitement and positivity."
“My best friend Abby was in an accelerated nursing program, and she spoke so highly about the nursing profession,” Singley said. “I started looking into nursing more and decided that the profession fit my personality the best. I also loved how nurses are able to work their way up to an advanced practice registered nurse. Constant growth and challenges always excite me, so I knew that nursing was the profession for me.”
When Singley graduated from JMU in 2018, she began searching for a school that offered an accelerated nursing program with high academic standards, successful professional outcomes and a curriculum that would allow her to graduate in a reasonable amount of time.
“As a new graduate, I was in a phase of my life where I was ready for change and challenges,” she said. “I was stressed and anxious about my next move after I graduated, and I had experienced some personal challenges as well. I needed to prepare for a career that would challenge me while providing the chance for upward mobility.”
As part of her search for an accelerated program, Singley visited RUC in Roanoke based on the recommendation from two students were currently enrolled in the ABSN program at RUC. She says she loved the warm southern welcome that the school and city offered her and quickly knew it was the school for her.
“When I came to Roanoke for my tour, every single faculty member I met on my tour was full of excitement and positivity,” Singley remembered. “I could not stop saying how friendly the people of Roanoke were. The warm welcome from the City of Roanoke was the icing on the cake.”
Singley said she was impressed to hear from her friends in the program that the faculty were consistently committed to their students’ success. Plus, Singley was excited to learn that she could earn her degree on a condensed timeline in four semesters over 16 months. Another aspect that sold her on the program was that the program had been specifically designed for students with undergraduate baccalaureate degrees in non-nursing disciplines.
Singley also looked at the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rates for students who graduated from the RUC ABSN program and was pleased to see the amazing rate of success. All nursing students take the exams to gain licensure to become practicing nurses, and RUC ABSN students regularly pass this exam at rates well above the national average.
What a wonderful gift to be able to utilize and apply knowledge and empathy toward the greater good.”
It didn’t take long for Singley to know she had made the right decision by joining the program and starting classes in Fall 2019. “Within the first week of classes at RUC, I absolutely knew nursing was for me, and this program was the perfect place for me to earn my degree,” she said.
As Singley got into her first year at RUC, she said she became even more convinced that nursing was her calling, feeling strong connections with her patients.
“Throughout my undergraduate experience, I realized that empathy was a trait that was deeply instilled in me,” Singley reflected. “I have always carried a deep concern for the feelings of others, which eventually led me to the healthcare field. What a wonderful gift to be able to utilize and apply knowledge and empathy toward the greater good. After interacting with patients during my first clinical rotation, I knew that nursing was a career that provides a rewarding yet humbling experience.”
Everything seemed to be going smoothly for Singley and her cohort in the ABSN program until the COVID-19 global pandemic struck in the spring of 2020. The pandemic and the resulting quarantine could have been a major obstacle for such a hands-on program, but Singley said the ABSN faculty took the challenge in stride. Together, they worked hard to ensure students still had the opportunity to maximize on the program and persist through the challenges.
“The nursing professors worked so hard to rearrange our clinical assignments and schedules during the pandemic,” Singley said. “So many things changed every day, and they were beyond adaptable to these changes.”
Singley said she was grateful for the hard work and support of nursing faculty members she worked with, including assistant professors Lee Brown, Mary Wimer, Paula Tate and Tara Chitwood.
“They worked day and night to solve problems and create solutions,” Singley said. My whole cohort is extremely thankful for their dedication to this program. We learned to adapt to many challenges that were presented to us, just as a nurse does in her everyday pattern of practice.”
Singley, who expects to graduate in November 2020, already has her first nursing job lined up with Carilion Clinic and will be staying in the region for the time being.
“I feel blessed to have been offered my first position in the oncology unit at Carilion Clinic, where I did my clinical preceptorship last fall,” she said. “The patients have such amazing outlooks on life and never fail to seek the beauty, positivity and hope in each day. In addition to the patients, the staff on this specific unit is full of compassion and determination. I have never worked with a staff that cares so much for their patients. I am beyond grateful to start my career in an environment that truly uplifts my soul.”