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JU Alum’s Nursing Career Is in Flight

Flexibility is important to JU alum Crystal Haddix, both for her education and her career, where she works as an ER nurse and a flight nurse.

An emergency room nurse holds a demanding position. So does a flight nurse, who provides critical care to patients on board emergency aircraft.

Imagine going back and forth between both jobs, and you can get a glimpse into the world of Jacksonville University alum Crystal Haddix.

“Both jobs are very demanding but very rewarding,” said Haddix, who received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from JU in 2016.

As Haddix explained, the jobs are “demanding in different ways.”

“As an ER nurse, I am working under the direction of a physician that is present,” Haddix said. “If we have a very sick patient or a trauma patient, the physician is the one making the decisions and doing all advanced procedures.

“As a flight nurse, on a scene call, we don’t have the physician beside us making those decisions,” Haddix said. “So, we have a great deal of autonomy and have to use critical thinking and decision making.”

Haddix’s education from JU has been indispensable in her career. A course in critical care nursing has been especially useful in her work.

“Not only does it teach you about critical care, but it also teaches you about the pathophysiology of diseases that we see a lot in our field,” Haddix said. “Knowing the pathophysiology is a huge part of nursing, especially flight nursing, because you must understand the body to know how to treat it.”

Haddix knew that earning her BSN would give her career flexibility and more options.

“I had thoughts of traveling or moving to a bigger city and I knew that most bigger hospitals require nurses to have their BSN,” Haddix said. “So I started the JU program while working fulltime in the ED (emergency department).

“Having my BSN was a great way to further my education and make me more qualified for future job promotions or changes,” Haddix added.

A friend who had earned his BSN online from JU recommended the program to Haddix and encouraged her to enroll. Her friend’s experience proved true for Haddix as well.

“JU was so easy to work with and so helpful that I never got stressed out with any of it,” Haddix said. “My advisor would call me weekly, making sure I was doing OK and checking to see if I was having issues or needed any assistance.”

The online format allowed Haddix to pursue her degree even with her hectic work life.

“The classes were flexible and worked with my crazy work schedule perfectly,” Haddix said. “You can basically make your own hours for class, as long as you stick to it and don’t procrastinate. If I had to do it over, I would in a heartbeat.”

Just as her friend recommended JU to Haddix, she has recommended JU herself.

“I recommend JU all the time when I hear nurses talk about going back to school to obtain their BSN,” Haddix said. “I actually encouraged my best friend to enroll. She is currently enrolled and will graduate in about a year from the program. The JU online program is so flexible and the staff from JU are very helpful, making it a pleasant experience.”

JU’s flexible RN to BSN program has also given Haddix the career flexibility she wanted.

“The possibilities are endless for me,” Haddix said. “These plans are up in the air because I don’t know what I want to do just yet.”

She’s considering becoming a nurse practitioner, but admits that her current situation is hard for her to leave.

“I just love my current job so much that the decision is very hard for me,” Haddix said. “To most, it would be easy and obvious: Practitioners make more money. But how often do you find a job that you just absolutely love doing?”

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