Angela Kisner Came to Carrington for a Nursing Degree. She Left with New Friends, Newfound Confidence and a New Career
From the outside, everything looked perfect.
Two years ago, Angela Kisner was happily married to a financial advisor and was a stay-at-home mom to three daughters in Paradise Valley, Arizona. She served as a Girl Scout leader and volunteered by collecting food and clothing for the homeless.
But even though her life was good, Angela, then 48, wasn’t feeling the fulfillment and happiness she knew was possible.
“I had nothing at all to complain about,” she says. “I love my husband. I love my kids. I love my life. But I was just feeling stagnant. When you’re a mother who is in kid mode, your focus is entirely on them. For many years I loved that part of my life, but my daughters had gotten to an age where they didn’t need me to be waiting for them when they came home from school.”
That, says Angela, is when she started thinking about what might be next for her.
“I thought a lot about returning to college and becoming a registered nurse, but to be totally honest, I had lost my confidence,” Angela recalls. “I just didn’t feel smart anymore—and I really didn’t like how that felt.”
She decided it was time to face her fear and insecurity head on. She thought about everything she had done well throughout her life. She recalled being an 18-year-old nursing student, and how much she enjoyed it before dropping out to begin a two-stint in the Army, where she became a squad leader. She reflected on how she enjoyed interacting with people as a cocktail waitress. She remembered her successes as a Yellow Pages salesperson.
But even though she dreamed of fulfilling a promise she made to her great-grandmother to eventually return to nursing school and become a registered nurse, her lack of self-confidence undermined her.
“I decided to enroll in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program because it was a shorter program and not as big of a financial investment,” she admits. “I figured if I failed, it wouldn’t sting so much. But when I earned straight A’s in my EMT program, it gave me the boost I needed to go for what I really wanted, which was nursing school.”
Fueled by that success, Angela enrolled in Carrington College’s Registered Nursing program in May of 2019.
“My experience at Carrington was so much richer than I ever anticipated,” says Angela. “When I started classes, my plan was to get in, be the best student I could be and learn as much as I could, get good grades and get out. I never thought about developing friendships and making such great connections with my classmates and instructors. That part was an unexpected bonus.”
Angela says her class was very connected, even while navigating the many added challenges presented by the pandemic.
“Our class really developed a strong bond, even though we weren’t in the same space for months at a time” she says. “I think when you have a group of people all working toward a common goal, connections can develop quickly. When my mother died during our first semester, the class gave me flowers and a beautiful card. That kind of support and connection is something I never expected when I enrolled.”
She also never imagined she would get involved in student government, but she did. She started as a student representative and went on to become president of the Student Council at Carrington’s Mesa campus. Angela says that while returning to school is something she did for herself, she believes her daughters have benefitted as well.
“I think they’ve learned a lot by watching their mom set a goal and achieve it through focus and hard work,” she says. “Looking back, I probably did too much for them when they were younger. Since I started my RN program, a lot has changed around the house. I think we’ve all become more independent and resilient as a result. And knowing that my husband and the girls are proud of what I’ve accomplished feels really great.”
Angela graduated last month—and is about to write the next chapter of her story at age 50. She says looking forward to launching a career in critical care or emergency nursing.
“I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing a year from now, and I find that exciting,” she says. “But there’s one thing I know for sure—I’m ready for whatever it is!”