Commencement Speaker Inspires Audience to Embrace Change

Miguel Martinez-Sierra and the RN to BSN clinicOn May 29, 2011, Miguel Martinez-Sierra gave an eloquent commencement speech for the graduates of the Adult Degree Program:

Good morning faculty, fellow graduates, families and friends who graciously accompany us today, which marks a very important milestone in our lives. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you all the members of the graduating class for the 2011 adult degree program who will be receiving baccalaureate degrees in the following different programs of study: Accounting, Management, International Business, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Business Information Systems, and Nursing for Registered Nurses.

Today I would like to talk to you about change. Change, according to the dictionary, is to make or become different. As we look back to the day when we started our programs until now when we will be receiving our respective degrees, do you not see a sort of metamorphosis that has taken place within us? Do you not feel different?

I have some news…we have changed, we are not the same and we can thank knowledge for such transformation…we look within and recognize the unique masterpiece created in our souls…I reckon this is the reason why universities do not have material boundaries as some philosophers say…for the creating force that flows through them cannot be contained within any walls.

Change is not always easy and often comes with its own share of stress, pain and instability. But when we see the marvels it works in us, instead of shunning it away we make it our quest to possess it and with it, its ever changing force.

For many of the adult degree graduates the process of getting our baccalaureate degrees took more than four years to complete…In fact many of us have been working at them our whole lives while successfully juggling other responsibilities such as family, work and school. It does not matter how long we have waited, we will continue to bring our newfound love for knowledge to all we meet hoping to be for them a source of inspiration.

When I think of Linfield I think of a greenhouse where we all have been forced to grow in a short amount of time…today we are called forth to bear fruit, and we will, for “we have been tried and have not been found wanting…” WE ARE READY!

Thank you.

Miguel Martinez-Sierra, RN, BSN
Commencement Speaker, Class of 2011
Linfield College


Miguel Martinez-Sierra


Miguel currently works as an Intensive/Critical Care Nurse for PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver.  Miguel earned an Associate degree in Nursing from Clark College, and chose to enter Linfield’s Adult Degree Program in the RN to BSN program because he believed that Linfield would provide him with the highest quality of education where care is shown for individual students.  Miguel is thankful for the support of his family and friends and faculty as he finished his degree through Linfield. Miguel has been accepted to the Master of Nursing program at Washington State University where he plans to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

More Nurses Earn BSN as Hospitals Work to Achieve Magnet Status

Magnet status is an achievement awarded to hospitals that satisfy a set criteria designed by the nursing profession to measure the strength and quality of their nursing standards and practices. A Magnet facility is stated to be one where nursing delivers excellent patient outcomes, where nurses have a high level of job satisfaction, and where the nursing staff turnover rate is low. Magnet status is awarded and administered by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), as part of the Magnet Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing.

Currently there are fewer than 400 facilities with Magnet status. These include facilities in the US, Australia, Lebanon, and Singapore. In part, by achieving Magnet status, hospitals hope to demonstrate a variety of characteristics, including, but not limited to, quality nursing leadership, professional models of care and professional development. As a result, hospitals are encouraging current and future employees to advance their education, including earning a BSN degree. This trend is evident at Salem Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which achieved the distinction of becoming a Magnet organization in 2010. Registered nurses at Salem Hospital have taken steps to advance their education, with many choosing to complete their BSN through Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing’s RN to BSN program for an online degree.

“The nursing profession in general has trended toward a high level of academic achievement,” said Ann Sukalac, Linfield College Instructor and Advisor who works with many Salem Hospital RNs. “Linfield’s RN to BSN program has noticed a correlated trend between nurses working to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and hospitals looking to achieve and to maintain Magnet Status.”

Accreditation is extremely valuable in health care, as consumers are becoming more educated and discriminatory in selecting their health provider. Individuals will look for objective benchmarks, such as Magnet status, to aid their decision.

Facilities that earn Magnet status must continue to encourage and provide opportunities for advanced education to their employees to maintain this award, as it’s not a lifetime designation. This encourages hospitals to look for registered nurses who have a strong desire to increase their academic achievement and learning.

Magnet status designation is an example of an organization’s and their nursing staff’s commitment to delivery of high quality of care to the community and to provide professional advancement. The trend is that more registered nurses are now considering going back to school to earn their BSN degree, so they can better contribute in helping their hospital earn this gold standard in patient care.

Ann Sukalac, Linfield College Adult Degree Program Instructor and Advisor contributed to this article.

Recent Nursing Graduates with a BSN Experience Higher Employment Rates

Recently, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) announced new data, which showed that graduates of entry-level baccalaureate (BSN) and master’s of nursing degree programs were much more likely to receive job offers at the time of graduation than graduates from other fields. In a national survey of deans and directors of U.S. nursing schools, 65 percent of BSN graduates had job offers at the time of graduation and after four to six months this number increased to 89 percent. Professions across other industries are not experiencing this rate of employment after graduation: on average, only 24.4 percent had job offers during the same time period.

In an economy that has experienced significant job losses in numerous industries, health care has been able to expand and create new positions. In a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 239,300 jobs by health care employers have been created in the past year.

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) has become essential for career advancement in nursing and can qualify nurses to move up the clinical and professional ladder. In recent years, the BSN graduate has become the nurse preferred to practice in all health care settings and sought by many employers who use the words “BSN preferred” more frequently in classified ads for registered nurses nationwide.

Linfield College’s Adult Degree Program offers a RN to BSN degree completion program for registered nurses, available in an online format, which provides flexibility for students needing to balance work, family and other commitments. Linfield not only helps their students earn their BSN degree and advance their careers; the program also helps nurses improve the quality of patient care and contribute to the well-being of their communities.

Learn about Linfield’s online RN to BSN degree program or request more information.