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R.N. Spahr finds flexibility, career fulfillment in online classrooms


Monica Spahr

“I had one year when my community service hours were due while I was on active duty at my Army hospital. But my [Ball State] instructor was flexible and allowed me to complete my clinical time during my non-duty hours.”

--Monica Spahr, operating room circulator and graduate of Ball State’s RN to BS nursing completion program


For nearly a decade, R.N. Monica Spahr worked as an operating room and intensive care nurse. She knew that to become manager of an operating room, she needed a bachelor’s degree and the administrative and organizational skills that come with it.

Spahr earned her bachelor’s degree through Ball State University’s online RN to BS nursing completion track, offered fully online. The online classroom was a welcome study option for Spahr who was a full-time nurse, mother of three children, and serving a month-long assignment each year as an Army captain and operating nurse at an active-duty hospital in Hawaii.

 “I had one year when my community service hours were due while I was on active duty at my Army hospital,” says Spahr, whose husband was deployed at the time. “But my [Ball State] instructor was flexible and allowed me to complete my clinical time during my non-duty hours.”

Timing was everything

The timing for completing her bachelor’s was a big motivation for Spahr. “Attaining my BSN was on my career path, and I was able to accomplish this while I was raising our family,” she says.

Although she pursued the degree completely online, Spahr also fulfilled a hands-on community health capstone project while she was in Hawaii. For her project, she worked with families in a warehouse-turned-homeless-shelter, where, among other initiatives, she helped mothers develop better hygiene habits for their children.

Just as she had hoped, Spahr’s bachelor’s in nursing led to a manager’s position where she oversaw nearly 20 operating rooms that performed surgery specialties such as cardiovascular, kidney, neurology, and heart transplant.

In October 2013, her husband’s military assignment took the family to Alabama. Today, Spahr works as an operating room circulator at a hospital in Montgomery, Alabama.