A four-year degree is still applaudable, but doesn’t always cut it in this dog-eat-dog world. Continuing education can provide that extra edge and expertise that allows for more possibilities in a career. Heather Densmore is the head trauma nurse at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. She says that her education opened her eyes to the many opportunities available in the health care field today.

Heather Densmore, head trauma nurse, Baylor University Medical Center (photo courtesy of Heather Densmore)

Heather Densmore, head trauma nurse, Baylor University Medical Center (photo courtesy of Heather Densmore)

Where do you work and what do you do?

“I am a manager of the trauma floor 11R and the IV team — 1st floor Roberts — at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. I manage employees, create the budget for both units and am in charge of general operations within these two units. I have 24-hour responsibility of these two units and it is my job to ensure that the goals for the organization are being met.”

What kind of degree is required for this position?

“The degree required is a bachelor of science in nursing. My degree is in nursing and I also have a master’s in nursing administration and education. It took me a little over a year to finish my master’s due to doubling up on some classes. I learned about leadership skills, managing the budget on different units and how to build an education curriculum that is in line with nursing. I believe that this has contributed to my overall success. It facilitated my understanding about the many different types of learning styles, how to articulate the budget and I learned all about the administrative part of nursing.”

Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing a career in health?

“I would highly recommend the nursing track. There are so many opportunities for nurses, not only on the clinical side, but also with issues that deal with quality, research, education, technology and risk management. When I was first encouraged to attend school by my vice president, Lynn Randolph, I thought to myself, I could never do that. To my surprise, it opened up my eyes to the many learning opportunities that exist in nursing. It also showed me that I can do this, and I have in turn mentored my peers in moving toward their master’s degrees. I believe it is important that we mentor experienced nurses as well as younger nurses to pursue more education to elevate the field as a whole.”

Judy Serrano writes romantic thrillers at www.JudySerraon.com. She graduated from Texas A&M Commerce with a BA in English. She is also a freelance writer for Examiner.com. She lives in Texas with her husband, four boys and five dogs.