Jessica Bruhn’s passion for nursing and teaching came full circle earlier this year when she became the first Scottsdale Community College Concurrent Enrollment nursing alum to become a full-time faculty member at the school.
The Concurrent Enrollment Program (CEP) offers nursing students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree while pursuing their Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree of nursing at one of the eight Maricopa Community College’s Nursing Programs.
Being part of the CEP certainly helped her reach her goals sooner than what it would have taken without it. “Many hospitals require nurses to have a BSN,” she said. “It certainly opened doors for me.”
Bruhn, who graduated from SCC’s CEP in 2013, started pursuing a nursing career after a 12-year career as a medical assistant. As part of the inaugural CEP class, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northern Arizona University and AAS in nursing from SCC at the same time. Seven months later she decided to further her education and began a Master’s degree in nursing education from Grand Canyon University, which she completed in February 2016.
The challenge of starting her nursing career in her 30s while married with one child was daunting, she recalled. But with the support of her family, she was up to the task. “I remember struggling in microbiology and my husband said I could quit. But I really wanted to do this for my family. I wanted my son to have a good example.” Her dedication, commitment and focus are evident in the degrees and accomplishments she has earned.
During her Master’s program, Jessica completed a 16-week teaching internship at SCC. This opened the door to teach block one clinicals for SCC as an adjunct faculty member. In the spring of 2016, a nursing faculty position opened at SCC. She interviewed for the position but was not offered the job. Although she was disappointed, Jessica continued to work as adjunct faculty. In December of 2016, another nursing faculty position at SCC opened up. Jessica interviewed for the second time. “I was nervous, but felt that I was much better prepared this time around,” she said.
She was offered the position and began her career as a nursing professor in January 2016.
Now she’s busy teaching her students in both the clinical and didactic setting, keeping intact SCC’s strong record of producing nursing graduates capable of passing the state licensure test on the first try. In the most recent board licensure exams, SCC nursing students had a 100 percent passage rate. The national average is 84 percent.
Her days consist of teaching, preparing lectures, putting together schedules and syllabi and making sure course content is up to standards. “It’s a lot of work and hard work,” she says. “It’s like nursing itself — you have to love what you do or you’re not going to be good at it.”
Bruhn also has maintained a desire to keep pursuing her nursing education. Now she is considering pursuing a doctorate in nursing education.
She offers straightforward advice to those considering a nursing career. “Nursing is an honor and a privilege. There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. You have to be committed. It’s a large commitment not just for you, but for your family…. having a strong support system will keep you motivated. It’s going to be rocky and bumpy, but it is certainly worth it.”