Alumni Testimonials

Heather McRae

Master of Science in Nursing
, Class of 2014
Completing my MSN with the education track through Norwich has given me the competence and confidence I need to continue in my current role as a manager and begin my role as an educator. The entire experience has broadened my knowledge-base and given me the courage to strive for higher goals.
Heather McRae, Class of 2014
Master of Science in Nursing

Q: “Tell us about yourself, Heather.”
A: “I currently reside in Brandon, Vermont with my husband and children, aged 9, 14, and 19. When I am not tending to work, school, or family, I enjoy travelling, sewing, reading, and online gaming.”

Q: “What does your professional life entail?”
A: “I have been a registered nurse for 16 years, specializing in cardiac and critical care. I am currently employed by Rutland Regional Medical Center as the ICU/PCU Clinical Manager. I have held this position for the past seven years. My hope is to one day incorporate my leadership skills in a new role as an educator.”

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “Over the course of my career, I have internalized much of the subtlety and nuance of nursing. I understand nursing on an intuitive level that is largely intangible and difficult to express. There is a great joy and a sense of purpose that comes from this self-knowledge. However, as comfortable as this self-knowledge is, it does not make me infallible or complete. Most importantly, it does not help me advance the craft of nursing. I have always been an independent and logical thinker with a fairly solid grasp of the larger picture. As a result, I have come to realize that the way in which we provide healthcare is changing, along with the needs of society. We are an aging population - one encompassing chronic and debilitating illnesses. Therefore, to adequately meet the needs of our changing society, we as healthcare professionals need to become more knowledgeable. The desire to embrace the changes certain to come to healthcare combined with my desire to educate others is what motivated me to pursue higher education.”

Q: “How did you first learn about Norwich?”
A: “I first learned about Norwich while attending a leadership conference sponsored by the Vermont Organization of Nurse Leaders. It was there that I heard a lecture given by a Norwich faculty member. I remember how well-poised and spoken she was. It was this first encounter that led me to research Norwich.”

Q: “What makes Norwich unique?”
A: “Norwich offers a very structured program, perhaps due to its military heritage. The classes are challenging, but well-outlined and offered in a logical way so that one class builds upon the next. There are no ‘fluff’ classes. All the required classes will build the student’s competence. In addition to Norwich’s structure and discipline, Norwich promotes personal connections. The classes are small and the instructors work hard to promote social engagement through discussions. Additionally, Norwich’s residency requirement allows students to connect and network. In my opinion, Norwich’s structure, discipline and personal connectedness make it a unique online program.”

Q: “How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your education?”
A: “Completing my MSN with the education track through Norwich has given me the competence and confidence I need to continue in my current role as a manager and begin my role as an educator. The entire experience has broadened my knowledge-base and helped to refine my organizational skills thus giving me the courage to strive for higher goals.”

Q: “Please tell us about any examples where you were able to put your knowledge to work immediately at your job.”
A: “I have learned a great deal from attending Norwich. In addition to being able to apply newly learned health assessment and pharmacology knowledge in my role as a clinical manager, I have also been fortunate to be able to incorporate this knowledge into my new role as a clinical educator. Furthermore, my new awareness of instructional methods and learning styles has allowed me to modify clinical experiences to include transformational leadership and appreciative inquiry, which students report as having positive effects on confidence, competence and accountability.”