07:32 AM

Summerville Cites Flexibility as Key to RN to BSN Program

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Tom Summerville is the Vice President of Clinical Services at Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care located in Lakewood, N.Y. An experienced emergency medical services professional, Summerville earned his associates degree in nursing from Jamestown Community College in 1996. Bellevue University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program then offered him the perfect opportunity to complete his four-year degree.

Now in the home stretch of the program, Summerville shared a few insights into what attracted him to nursing as a profession and why the Bellevue University program has worked for him.

 How did you first hear about Bellevue University and what led you to select the school to pursue your bachelor’s degree?

I first heard about Bellevue University while attending a local committee meeting on health care workforce recruitment for in my area. My student recruiter was presenting on the program that day. I had already attempted an on-line RN to BSN program that was more local to me. However, it was not an accelerated program and the time frames just did not fit within my goals. I realized how quickly I could obtain my BSN and at a very decent cost. Tuition was a third less than the other program I had attempted.

What have you enjoyed most about your Bellevue University experience?

The thing I have enjoyed the most about the program is the flexibility of the program and the time frames for completion.  I am already at the half-way point of achieving my goal of obtaining my BSN. I am able to work my schooling into my schedule with very little disruption of my daily life.

Has anyone been particularly helpful during your time at Bellevue University? 

Everyone who I have had contact with at the University has been so helpful. My student recruiter provided great communication to get the enrollment going. My student adviser has given me prompt attention whenever I have contacted her. In addition, the faculty has been very responsive to my questions and provided very constructive feedback to all of my assignments. Even when I called the bookstore, the staff were all helpful.

What was your reaction when you heard the Bellevue University program had received specialized program accreditation from CCNE (Commision on Collegiate Nursing Education)?

I knew when I started the program they had not received the CCNE accreditation yet. Even though I have no plans at the moment in continuing past my BSN, I really did not want to rule out any of my future options. Now that Bellevue has received the accreditation doors will be open for me in the future depending on which direction I would like to take my career.

Where you currently working and what are is your job title?

I am currently working for a community-based, not-for-profit hospice and palliative care program. I have been the Vice President of Clinical Services for the last two years. Obtaining my BSN will make me a better resource for those I supervise. I know I will also be a better asset to the company. Having my BSN will ensure I will be a better leader for the organization.

What first drew you to nursing as a profession?

I originally was steered into nursing after working for years in emergency management services (EMS). I loved what I did, but unfortunately, there is not much room for growth or upward mobility in EMS. I had attended an orientation program by the local community college in regards to their nursing program. After I had time to think about it, I enrolled myself in classes at the community college and started working toward being accepted into the nursing program. I am so happy I made the choice to go into nursing. It has been a wonderful career. In the early days of my career I was able to work for different agencies and different areas of care. I feel nursing is one of the only professions with so much diversity and the ability to have such an impact on patients in how we deliver care.

Who have been your biggest supporters of your academic and career goals?

My wife has been my biggest supporter while attending Bellevue University. She has been exceptionally understanding during my time so far at Bellevue. Without her support I truly don't think I could do it. Also, my work has been very supportive of my education. My supervisor has encouraged me every step of the way. Not only that, but they have provided tuition reimbursement and even offered time off if I needed it to complete my assignments.