Following in each other’s footsteps

Kris Marlow and Karissa (Marlow) Bailey

A pair of recent graduates had no problem formulating a support team while participating in the Upper Iowa University RN to BSN online program. Nurses Karissa (Marlow) Bailey and her mother, Kris Marlow, both started the courses together and celebrated their graduation during the 2016 Senior Reception at the UIU-Des Moines Center.

“Having the opportunity to complete our degrees at the same time, not only allowed us to more closely assist each other in our studies but also expand our knowledge together as we continue to advance in our nursing careers,” said Karissa.

“It was such an enjoyable experience to be able to complete the journey together,” Kris agreed. “We could share books, study together, and have fun while furthering our careers and accomplishing our dreams.”

Karissa has always looked up to her mother as a role model and grew up playing nurse or doctor as a child. Her sister, Kourtney, is also a BSN and an aunt is a nurse practitioner.

“My grandfather had a tragic accident when I was 15,” Karissa added. “Watching the hospital staff care for him and the fortitude he showed in learning to walk again provided me the strength to follow my dreams and to never give up. Now I love bringing a smile to my own patients’ faces and help them all feel better.”

A registered nurse at Mercy Family Care in Perry, Iowa, Karissa said UIU’s eight-week online classes allowed her to continue to work fulltime and plan for her wedding.

“Upper Iowa has allowed me to expand my career and accomplish my dreams. As a BSN prepared nurse, I am now more marketable for my company and better prepared for future management and educational positions,” the 27-year-old continued. “With this degree I am also able to better educate my patients with the proper evidence-based research, allowing them to receive the best care possible.”

Kris was also grateful for UIU’s flexible online scheduling, which allowed the nurse of 20 years to continue working full time and spend time with family members.

“By obtaining this degree, I was able to me to put my experience, knowledge, and leadership skills to work and accept my dream job,” explained Kris, who was named RN unit supervisor at Mercy West Lakes Hospital in West Des Moines. “Upper Iowa University provided me the knowledge and experiences to be a better leader; allowing me to learn from co-workers and staff, while becoming a strong supervisor.”

“Going back to school as an older student requires a lot of time and dedication that I was able to obtain with the help of my daughters who helped me along the way,” added the 50-year-old. “It is important to have support from your family; there was something special about going back to school with my daughter. She was my support system, lifting me up when I struggled and I was able to lift her up in times of need. Having a partner through this process allowed me to have feedback on my assignments and helped further my education. “

Both nurses praised the continuous support provided by UIU advisors, instructors and President William R. Duffy throughout their educational experience. They noted it is never too late for an individual to return to college and encouraged potential students to apply at UIU and take the next step in making their dreams come true.

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