WSCC Student of the Month advancing degree to better serve patients

After 12 years working as a licensed practical nurse, Brittany Pittenger knew if she wanted to advance her career, she needed to return to school and become a registered nurse. Today, as she nears graduation with her Associate Degree Nursing (ADN), her hard work has earned her recognition as Washington State Community College’s April Student of the Month.

During her years as an LPN Pittenger served in many capacities, including in a hospital Med-Surg unit, as a floor nurse at an assisted living facility and currently, while earning her Associate Degree in Nursing, she’s working as a home health nurse. However, in each of these positions she had a desire to do more for her patients. “I came back to further my education so I would be able to provide the best care for my patients through evidence-based practice,” she acknowledged.

Having earned her practical nursing degree at Washington State, Pittenger was familiar with the nursing program’s notoriety- specifically, its exceptional licensure pass rates and job placement record. “I chose Washington State because the ADN program has a great reputation and I knew it would help me become successful,” Pittenger said.

Tracey Bogard, assistant professor of the Associate Degree Nursing Program at WSCC, describes Pittenger as an extraordinary student who has met with the high expectations placed on the nursing students at WSCC.

“Ms. Pittenger is a great example of the type of student who will excel as an RN. She has a deep commitment to her education and displays respect to others, especially those in need,” said Bogard. She went on to describe Pittenger’s outstanding performance in the clinical setting. “Seasoned RNs from the unit frequently compliment Ms. Pittenger on her nursing skills and her ability to provide great care to her patients. They also bragged on her ability to catch critically important details and to report this information to them.”

While Pittenger is receiving recognition for her exceptional performance from instructors and nurses in her clinical setting, she is transparent about the commitment required to be a successful nursing student. “Nursing school is challenging and not for just anyone. You have to want it and you have to be passionate about it. Nursing is not only about being book smart, but it also requires the skill of applying the knowledge in the clinical setting. The instructors in the ADN program do a great job of seeking out learning opportunities for students who are eager and take initiative.”

Pittenger, who will graduate this spring, admitted returning to college after being away from the classroom for over a decade was not easy. “But I don’t regret it at all,” she conceded. Pittenger will graduate at the conclusion of this semester and has expressed an interest in critical care. She said she hopes to start as a new grad in an ICU step-down unit and eventually work her way to ICU. She also plans to continue her education while working and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

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