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As a pediatric home health LPN, Nichole Lobingier found great satisfaction in her career but knew she wanted to advance in the field of nursing. “I worked as an LPN for several years before deciding to go back for my RN degree,” says Nichole. “I knew a career in nursing was the only path for me.  I worked beside RNs and I had a lot of admiration and respect for them.”

She explored programs at Penn State and Harrisburg Area Community College and researched online programs as well. Online programs were appealing, but they lacked the clinical time that Nichole felt was essential to becoming a well-rounded nurse. “As an LPN, I knew that being a nurse was so much more than just knowing what to do,” she says. “It’s how you do it. It’s how you care for your patients; how you talk with your patients and their families. It comes down to how we make them feel.”

Ready to take the next step in her career, she headed to the Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing to enroll in the RN program.

“Patients are more than just their illness, diagnosis or the procedure they are undergoing,” says Nichole, who believes in a holistic approach to nursing. “I wasn’t willing to compromise on what I valued the most. At Geisinger Lewistown School of Nursing, I didn’t need to compromise. The curriculum includes both excellent classroom instruction and an unprecedented amount of clinical time. The knowledge and hands-on experience I gained by interacting with patients are invaluable.”

Small class sizes fostered a sense of camaraderie and community that only a program like the School of Nursing can provide and left little room for students to fall through the cracks. The school’s location and its collaboration with Penn State to provide the necessary general education courses also factored into her decision. “I was able to take the general education courses in the evenings, which allowed me to continue working and keep my independence. By choosing Geisinger Lewistown School of Nursing, I didn’t need to take a step back to take a step forward.”

Nichole can’t say enough about the encouragement she received from her family, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.” She also praises the nursing school’s faculty and staff. “They are invested in each student’s success. As a student, you build genuine and lasting relationships with them. You’re not just a number.”  

Going back to school to pursue a second career can be intimidating. “I was single, independent and had a successful career as an LPN. My life was good. At that point, I was nervous about possibly needing to give up what I had worked so hard to achieve. But, my desire to advance my career and become an RN was stronger than my fears.”  

She adds, “What I discovered was that my career as an LPN and my life experiences only helped to enrich my journey to becoming an RN. In hindsight, I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.” She encourages all LPNs who may be considering a change to look at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing. “If you’re an LPN thinking about going back to school to become an RN, know that you can do this. Do it for yourself, your family and your community.”

After graduation, Nichole became a staff RN on the oncology/orthopaedic unit at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital. “As a new RN graduate, I gained invaluable hands-on experience in this position. It really gave me a chance to perfect my skills and expand my knowledge. I would recommend starting on an inpatient unit to all new graduates.”

Five years after graduation, Nichole moved into a new position: Primary care nurse coordinator for Geisinger Mifflintown and Juniata family practices. “Family medicine is such a broad scope of practice. I continue to learn and grow as a nurse every single day.”  

Next steps:

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Nicole Lobingier, RN, furthered her nursing career with Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing’s 2-year RN degree program.
Nicole Lobingier, RN, furthered her nursing career with Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing’s 2-year RN degree program.

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