Local Graduate Secures Dream Job as Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

With her master’s from Duke University, Ashley Honeycutt now serves local families

RCCC 104SALISBURY, N.C. — When Ashley Honeycutt graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College a few short years ago, she didn’t know she’d already have her dream job.

But she does. Today, Honeycutt is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Honeycutt graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus in 2008 as a registered nurse. Today, after graduating from Duke University with her master’s, she and her husband live in the same community she grew up in.

“I pretty much have my dream job – I love working with kids. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, it is so rewarding to help kids go from sick to well,” said Honeycutt.

Honeycutt, then Ashley Bostian, graduated from South Rowan High School in 2005. Because she’d taken allied health classes, she also had her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Not only is CNA certification a prerequisite for nursing school admission, it also provides a way for students to work in the healthcare field and pay for college.

“I had a great experience at Rowan-Cabarrus. It’s a difficult program, but thanks to some amazing instructors, you can learn a lot and make it through,” said Honeycutt.

Rowan-Cabarrus nursing programs have a well-documented track record of success in both student performance and program recognition.

“One great component of choosing the Rowan-Cabarrus nursing program over a four-year school is that you can become a registered nurse in two years and immediately start working,” said Honeycutt. “Then, you can continue your education while working, essentially, getting two years ahead of those who attended four-year schools for their nursing degrees. I feel like I am two years ahead in my field because of this.”

After earning her degree at Rowan-Cabarrus, Honeycutt did not stop there. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Winston Salem State – ironically she found herself back at Rowan-Cabarrus as the distance learning program was held at Rowan-Cabarrus. But that wasn’t enough – Honeycutt went on to apply to graduate school at Duke University.

While getting her master’s at Duke, Honeycutt continued working as a nurse, mostly full-time.

RCCC 109“I commuted to Duke two days a week and did my clinical experience locally. It was difficult, but it was worth it. I highly recommend working while going to school. Not only did it make it possible financially, but I learned more. By working in my field and going to school, I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom in real time,” said Honeycutt.

Rowan-Cabarrus offers multiple nursing program options, including associate degree in nursing (ADN), licensed practical nursing (PN) and the PN to ADN transition.

“Even if you are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university, I recommend you at least consider getting all of your prerequisites done at Rowan-Cabarrus,” said Honeycutt. “Whether you’re unsure of your path, or you just want to stay local, seriously consider Rowan-Cabarrus. I personally recommend the College to family and friends.”

Much like a pediatrician, pediatric nurse practitioners work with patients from infancy to young adulthood, diagnosing illness, conducting exams, and prescribing medication. These nurses usually work alongside pediatricians in a hospital or outpatient facility, but some run their own private practices.

“Ashley is a wonderful addition to Salisbury Pediatrics. Not only is she compassionate and empathetic, but she has a thirst for knowledge and the aptitude to apply what she learns,” said Dr. Christopher J. Magryta. Dr. Magryta is Ashley’s mentor and supervising physician and believes “Ashley is highly intelligent and hardworking and that our community is lucky to have her.”

Honeycutt says that she will potentially go back to school to get her doctorate, but she has no immediate plans to do so.

“I’m just enjoying my career. If I go back to school, it’ll be down the road. Honestly, I never knew I could be this happy in my job. I feel really lucky,” said Honeycutt.

“We are very proud of Ashley and all she’s accomplished!” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Ninety percent of Rowan-Cabarrus nursing graduates are employed by Novant Health Rowan, the W.G. Hefner Veterans Administration Medical Center, Carolina’s Medical Center-Northeast, long-term care facilities, hospice and other medical providers throughout the state.”

New standards from the Institute of Medicine will require that most nurses in hospital settings have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In order to facilitate that transition and help registered nurses with associate degrees maintain or improve their careers, the College has partnered with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to offer the UNCG RN to BSN program on the Rowan-Cabarrus campus located at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

RCCC 105The nursing profession has seen a dramatic increase in demand for bachelor’s trained nurses due to changing standards and the College will now be able to help the local area keep up with these demands. At present over half of the Registered Nurses in North Carolina do not hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s health programs and a list of upcoming information sessions, please visit www.rccc.edu/health. Additional information about the UNCG RN to BSN program can be found at http://nursing.uncg.edu/undergraduate/Outreach.php. Registered nurses interested in enrolling in the program should contact Cathy Norris (cathy.norris@rccc.edu) or Linda Anderson (lmanders@uncg.edu).

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