Adrienne Messer Triumphs Over a Tornado in Her Nurse Executive Journey
Adrienne Messer wanted to advance her career by pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, but she needed to find an affordable program that would allow her to work and that would accommodate the needs of her family and their farm. She chose Walden University's online MSN Nurse Executive degree program. She also selected the Tempo Learning® option, drawn to its competency-based approach and the freedom to focus on one competency at a time during a three-month subscription period.
Messer shares, “I’m a mom and a wife. I own a farm and I work full time, so I need a program that is flexible and affordable for my family. I loved the idea of paying for a three-month subscription and working on one competency at a time.”
Unlike traditional course-based learning, Walden's Tempo Learning® offers a unique model based on mastery. Within each three-month subscription period, independent learners like Messer combine their work experience with Walden’s learning resources to master a specific topic. Rather than adhering to strict deadlines or class schedules, students complete assessments or projects to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. When the student demonstrates competence in a topic, they can advance to the next topic. Feedback from Walden faculty members ensures continuous support, while an Academic Coach provides guidance throughout the process.
Messer enjoys knowing what she needs to do to demonstrate her mastery of each topic. She explains, “I can read the overview, look at expectations, go through the learning resources, and communicate with my subject matter expert (SME) if needed.” She particularly appreciates the pre-assessments, which she says give her the opportunity to prepare and ask questions before completing a project.
Inspired by her studies, Messer has already applied her learning to her workplace. In her current role as clinical education specialist for MercyOne Medical Center, she works to inspire nurses to take better care of themselves. But she envisioned a program that would help directors take better care of the nurses they direct, and proposed a leader residency program to help nursing unit leaders support their nurses. She notes, “Research has shown that poor management styles lead to higher nursing turnover.”
Nurses are often promoted to the post of nursing unit director without having adequate management training. Messer says that a leader residency program is the solution. “It will help new directors learn budgeting, learn leadership styles, how to mentor staff, how to manage patient throughput, and how to communicate needs to finance,” she explains. This innovative program aims to help nursing unit directors become better managers and provide better support to nurses, which can result in reduced turnover.
Messer was enjoying advancing through her online nursing degree program and applying her learning to her workplace, as many adult students do. But then a natural disaster derailed her plans.
“In March of 2022, an EF4 tornado hit our farm,” she explains. Thankfully, she and her family were OK but they were displaced from their home. She says, “It was very hard. I had to drop out of school for three months.”
Messer says her Academic Coach and instructors encouraged her to come back when she was able to, and to keep pursuing her degree. Messer says, “My instructors have been completely supportive. My Academic Coach has been amazing. She was there every step of the way, checking in on me. She helped me get back into the swing of school and encouraged me just to keep going. There have been times where my coach really mentored me and just helped lift me up.”
Positive comments from Walden faculty members also encouraged Messer. She shared that one of her instructors said, “You've done such a great job in this competency, and I’ve really seen you mature. Keep it up.” Messer says, “It's things like that, that help me keep going. Just because things happen in life, we can still show up as our best with a lot of support. And Walden’s provided that support for me.”
Messer’s commitment to inspiring nurses, despite the challenges in her own life, was recently recognized with a DAISY Award. The DAISY Awards celebrate the remarkable work nurses do daily. Patients, families, colleagues, students, and teachers can nominate deserving nurses for the award.
Messer says that winning a DAISY Award is an honor. “This past year has been so challenging for my family. Being a DAISY Award winner makes me feel seen and that my efforts to inspire others are appreciated and recognized,” she shares.
In the future, Messer plans to inspire more people and promote positive change. She says, “Whether it’s supporting colleagues, supporting patients, looking at the community and seeing what gaps in care we have and how to make access to care easier … I know through the MSN Nurse Executive program, I’m going to gain the knowledge so that I can help support my community, my colleagues, and my organization to make a positive social impact.”
Want to become a resilient, DAISY Award-winning nurse like Adrienne Messer? An online nursing degree from Walden can provide the education you need to become an inspirational nurse. Walden’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)-accredited online nursing programs can help you prepare for certification and credentialing as a nurse or to advance in your career as a nurse educator or nurse executive.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, online nursing doctoral programs, and nursing certificate programs online. Expand your nursing career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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