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How This Alumni Triumphed Through Anxiety to Achieve Her MSN at 50

MSN Alumni Rose Tyler

Longtime nurse Rose Tyler always had her mind set on becoming an RN. But a discouraging setback led her on a path of anxiety that delayed her career goals. Years later, with the support of her loved ones, Rose achieved her RN dream and advanced her education even further. In 2020, she graduated from Aspen with her MSN in Public Health. Here’s her story.

It is never too late to accomplish your goals. I was 50 years old when I obtained a Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Public Health. Although my mind may not be as sharp as the younger generation and processing may take a little longer, I consider myself a lifelong learner. My educational journey has been one of triumph and overcoming. 

Ever since I was a young girl, I wanted to help people. I started my career as a nursing assistant and went to vocational school to become a licensed practical nurse. I worked as an LPN for about 21 years, but my dreams and goals were to become a registered nurse and earn a master’s one day. 

Rose Tyler and her familyCoworkers, families, patients, physicians, and friends would always encourage me to further my nursing education. I eventually enrolled in an LPN to RN weekend program and obtained my Associate’s Degree in Nursing. After sitting for the NCLEX-RN and being unsuccessful, I was very discouraged about trying again. So, I continued working as an LPN for several more years.

Due to life challenges, anxiety, and panic, the years went by. But I never gave up believing that someday I would pass the state boards and continue my educational journey. During this time, I was also learning to overcome my anxiety. I became a prisoner of panic, and it had stifled so many aspects of my life, including my educational journey. I believe that God always places people in your life at the right time to help you. And I did have individuals placed in my life that encouraged, supported, and believed in me professionally and personally—and at times more than I believed in myself. 

“No matter what age you are, never give up on pursuing your education and goals. You are never too old to achieve.”


I eventually went to an eight-week summer NCLEX tutoring session, and shortly after, I passed the exam. Logging onto the website and seeing RN beside my name was the most exciting day. I was working that day and had to go out in the hall and do a praise dance. It was just the push and confidence boost I needed to continue my educational journey.

As soon as I could register for a Bachelor’s program, I did so. I was able to balance work, social life, and school and graduated with honors. After completing the program, I took a break for a few months but knew I needed to keep going. Rose Tyler with her work badge

I chose Aspen University for my Master’s for several reasons. The advisors were so personable and made me feel they had a vested interest in student success. Throughout the program, the instructors were consistent and encouraging, pushing me to be better. 

Dr. Susan Kinnear is one faculty member that stood out. She was my instructor at the beginning of the program and for my last course, after completing my Nursing Practicum. I was the only student in my final course, which started right after the pandemic hit. To say it was a stressful time is an understatement. Dr. Kinnear was so encouraging and uplifting, and we had weekly phone discussions for updates and progress. She also advised me to get an extension, which relieved some stress and anxiety and ensured I could complete all my assignments on time.

I can’t imagine not working in the healthcare field because it is my passion. I am currently working as a nurse supervisor/manager at an outpatient Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) in Richmond, Virginia. I’m also looking at public health opportunities in the community with the hopes of making a difference in the lives of individuals and populations. 

No matter what age you are, never give up on pursuing your education and goals. You are never too old to achieve. Along this journey of life, we all need someone to help us along the way. And in turn, we should help others on their journey.