The health science class that Kandi Tudor took in high school had much more to do with destiny than density.
"It sparked my interest in nursing," she said. "I like caring for other people. I always joked with my health science teacher that I wanted her job someday. Then, that door opened and I said, 'Thank you, God.' Now, I teach that same class."
Tudor also graduated from the online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) in December 2019.
In addition to teaching at her alma mater, Triton High School, in Erwin, North Carolina, Tudor serves as a labor and delivery nurse at Harnett Health, in Dunn. She and her husband, Kevin, have two sons — Karson (13) and Kolton (8).
"There were a lot of jobs that require a bachelor's degree," she said. "It was a goal that I had set for myself a long time ago. I kept putting it off because of work and children, but I wanted to get it done.
"UNCW's program was affordable and something that I could do and still work and have a family life. Plus, it didn't take that long to finish."
Tudor enrolled in the bachelor's degree program in January 2017, before she became a teacher, so the flexibility of the online format proved invaluable as she added a second career.
"I acclimated to it quickly," she said. "At one point, I was teaching, working pro re nata as a registered nurse and taking UNCW and online teaching certification classes. So, it was very doable. I recently obtained my teaching certification."
Tudor grew up in Coats, North Carolina, and graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Central Carolina Community College in 2002. She has been a nurse ever since and will begin her fourth year of teaching in the fall of 2021.
"The program works great with our schedule and two younger boys in school," she said. "I have fallen in love with teaching and seeing that spark start in teenagers when they are interested in healthcare.
"I plan to continue to do both teaching and nursing. I still miss being at the bedside with my patients, so it also keeps my nursing skills up."
Pathophysiologic and Pharmacological Evidence Based Nursing Care was Tudor's favorite course in the UNCW online RN to BSN program curriculum.
"I gained a better understanding of the importance of evidence-based research," she said. "The pathophysiologic and pharmacological concepts gave me more background knowledge to understand the treatments we use in nursing."
Even with a plethora of nursing experience under her belt, Tudor gained plenty of valuable information as an online student at UNCW.
"I was definitely able to immediately use what I learned in the RN to BSN program at my job," she said. "It was a great experience that I am glad I had."
Tudor had a lot of encouragement from her family and friends while she earned the degree and embarked on a second career as an educator.
"They were excited, supportive and very proud of me when I completed the program," she said. "My husband was especially excited when I finished. There was a lot of late-night studying.
"Maybe one day when my boys are out of school, I'll go back for the Master of Science in Nursing Nurse Educator degree at UNCW. I have looked into it."
Although Tudor did not know that she would be teaching when she enrolled in the online RN to BSN program, it serendipitously came together like it was part of a grand plan.
"I had already started the program before the teaching position opened up, but it helped me get that job," she said. "I needed a bachelor's degree to teach, so it was perfect that I was already in the process of getting it."
Tudor, who enjoys boating and going to the beach with her family in her free time, loves that her prophecy of becoming a teacher came true — especially because she can still work as a nurse.
"Going back to school to complete the bachelor's degree was well worth it," she said. "I would tell anybody considering the online RN to BSN program at UNCW to go for it. Don't let anything hold you back."
Learn more about UNCW's online RN to BSN program.
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