Meet Yasaman "Yasi" Khadem. Falls Church, Va., native. Johns Hopkins Hospital ICU nurse. Graduate of Northern Virginia Community College's associates degree in nursing. Dog mom to the late "Rocky." RN to BSN student in UVA's hybrid RN to BSN program in Northern Virginia. A member of UVA's Class of 2024.
WHY EARN A BSN?
When I was in nursing school, it became even more clear to me that I wanted to earn my BSN because I saw that it opens more doors for you in your nursing career. Some of my nursing school classmates were in dual-enrollment programs for their BSN while they were in the ADN program, so I looked into those programs, but eventually decided I wanted to focus on my ADN first and then pursue my BSN once I graduated.
I researched RN to BSN programs for months before I landed on UVA’s. I asked other nurses and nursing students about the programs they chose, but it sometimes seemed like they were checking off boxes and not actually learning or engaging in the process. I looked into programs that were all online as well.
"UVA School of Nursing in a word? Meaningful—because it has helped me put more meaning into my nursing practice and has made me a better nurse."RN to BSN student Yasi Khadem, ICU nurse
Once I attended a Zoom info session with Kim Dieber, it made me excited about UVA’s program in particular, which was significant because I had trouble getting excited about any of the other programs I had looked into. I saw that UVA’s RN to BSN was hybrid—mainly online, but meets in person a few times a semester—and this interested me because having to meet up with my professors and classmates in person once a month would not only keep me engaged in the process of earning my BSN but also meant the potential for forming more meaningful connections with classmates and professors.
WHAT THE PROGRAM IS LIKE
I’m almost done with my second semester (out of five) and, so far, it’s everything I had expected and more because there have been some positives that I didn’t expect going into it.
I didn’t expect how personal it is: the class sizes are small and your professor and classmates actually get to know you. This has been great because my friends in the online-only programs feel like they’re just another number in classes made up of dozens, if not hundreds, of students, and they don’t get to make those connections. I really look forward to meeting once a month and hearing about how my classmates are doing and getting to know them more. It’s nice to feel like your school and professors actually care about you and want the best for you. This has been true in my experience.
In high school, I had a really wonderful counselor who I trusted and got to form a great bond with, but I didn’t really have that in community college. I met with a different advisor each time, since they were managing hundreds of students, they never got to know me and I didn’t really feel like they cared much. Kristen Wentland, the School of Nursing’s RN to BSN academic advisor, has been so wonderful. We’ve only communicated virtually, but she has been so supportive and understanding. She has checked in to see how the semester is going, has helped me make decisions about classes, and I genuinely feel like she cares.
On orientation day in Charlottesville, one of the first things the program’s professors told us was that this program was not going to be like our ADN programs at all, but that we shouldn’t be scared. They said we’re already nurses, so we don’t have to “prove” ourselves to them, and that they trust us and just want to help us meet our goal of obtaining a BSN, and they don’t want to make it harder for us. We were all a little skeptical, but they brought in current RN to BSN students, too, to tell us about the program, and by the end of the day, we had pretty much let down our guard and were all less anxious about starting the program.
I have found that everyone is there to support and help you achieve your goal, not make it harder for you. The professors are caring and understanding if you need an extension on an assignment or if you need any help.
It’s easy to think of getting a BSN as just another annoying thing you have to do; just another box to check off. But choosing a program is a BIG decision when you think about it . . . you still want to get something out of it other than another piece of paper to hang on your wall. UVA’s program is really unique and I feel like I am actually getting a lot out of it.Yasaman Khadem, RN to BSN student and ICU nurse
HOW THE PROGRAM HAS IMPACTED HER NURSING PRACTICE
I thought I would be stressed because I was in school while I was on ICU orientation at Johns Hopkins Hospital, basically learning how to be a nurse, on top of the nurse residency program classes and other trainings that happen within those first few months. However, my schoolwork helped me process what I was doing at work because we were relating a lot of the content to what we were doing in our clinical practices. I was able to reflect upon my nursing practice, which affected my development as a nurse.
Even though most of my new graduate nurse peers in JHU Hospital’s nurse residency program went the traditional BSN route of becoming a nurse, I sometimes feel lucky that I'm currently in the RN to BSN program, because things are so fresh. For example, I started learning about evidence-based practice (EBP) and working on my EBP project in the RN to BSN program even before it was introduced to me in my nurse residency program at JHU Hospital. I had insight into the process and felt comfortable interpreting research, thanks to what I’d learned in the RN to BSN program.
WHAT SHE’D SAY TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING THE RN TO BSN PROGRAM
When I was making the decision, I was heavily influenced by my friends who were in RN to BSN programs. I asked them a lot of questions and looked into the programs they were in first, and even got pretty far into the process of enrolling in some of them, but I felt indifferent about them and they didn’t ultimately seem like a good fit for me.
It’s easy to think of getting a BSN as just another annoying thing you have to do; just another box to check off. But choosing a program is a BIG decision when you think about it. It may not be your biggest priority in life while you’re doing it, because you’re going to be working as a nurse while you’re enrolled, but you still want to get something out of it other than another piece of paper to hang on your wall. UVA’s program is really unique and I feel like I am actually getting a lot out of it.
My professor always finds a way to engage us in the content, especially because some of it could be helpful in the future as we decide to advance our nursing practice. For example, I was annoyed that I had to take statistics again, given that I had taken it in community college, but the statistics class you take in your first semester at UVA is specific to nursing practice and will actually help you as a nurse. It’s made me less afraid of interpreting statistics in nursing and healthcare research and opened up the possibility of engaging in research as a nurse.
UVA SCHOOL OF NURSING IN A WORD?
Meaningful—because it has helped me put more meaning into my nursing practice and has made me a better nurse.