Cassandra Hanes, RN-BSN

Cassandra HanesCassandra Hanes has her future goals set, and is ready to make them happen. In Spring 2012 she was awarded the Robert Ray Scholarship for use in completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The Robert Ray Scholarship is awarded to a University of Iowa staff member who is working on their undergraduate degree at the University. Cassandra currently works as a nursing assistant in the Orthopedics, Urology, and Ophthalmology Inpatient Unit at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.

Cassandra always had an interest in nursing and in high school volunteered with special needs children. She went on to work at REM and Reach for your Potential, leaving to join the National Guard. Unfortunately, she was injured during basic training and sent back home. Continuing the dream meant going back to school. Once Cassandra completes her BSN, she plans to continue her education working on either a MSN in Midwifery or a DNP Neonatology program. Future career plans include becoming a registered nurse in Labor and Delivery, Postpartum or the Neonatal Intensive Care. Cassandra says, "There are a number of quality opportunities in nursing and an exciting aspect of the field is that you can continue to grow as you develop new skills during your career."

Keeping on the goal path has been challenging as Cassandra works 20 hours a week while attending school full-time; in addition to raising her four-year old daughter Krissa. She credits the flexible scheduling in her position as a nursing assistant at the hospital for helping her to keep it all going. Cassandra also has the benefit of a great family support system.

Cassandra's role as nursing assistant keeps her busy. In a typical day, she works with surgery patients to provide education; measures for ted hose and helps patients with breathing post-surgery; takes vitals; and walks with patients while they are recuperating. Working at the University Hospitals and Clinics and taking classes in a clinical setting as a student has its benefits because Cassandra has been able to get first-hand experience on the job.

When asked what advice Cassandra has for other prospective students trying to juggle work, family, and school, Cassandra has this to say. "Know your strengths and your weaknesses, and find someone in your program to study with whom complements your own abilities. Recognize what is important in your program because there is so much information in the beginning, it can be overwhelming if you don't. Stay focused on the big picture because you can only fit so much into your head at one time. Most of all, don't forget to sleep."