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Tammi Pierce is pictured with her sons, Zach (left) and Tyler (right), after a Bearcat football game. Her experience as a Northwest parent led the long-time nurse to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University. (Submitted photo)

Tammi Pierce is pictured with her sons, Zach (left) and Tyler (right), after a Bearcat football game. Her experience as a Northwest parent led the long-time nurse to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University. (Submitted photo)

March 3, 2021

Northwest nursing program helps Pierce advance career

By Leah Newell, communication assistant


Football games at Northwest Missouri State University bring people together, and a Bearcat football game brought Tammi Pierce back to the college environment to complete her nursing degree.

Pierce has two sons, Zach, a 2019 Northwest graduate who played for the Bearcat football team, and Tyler, a current member of the team. While attending a game at Bearcat Stadium in 2018, she saw an advertisement for Northwest’s RN-BSN program on the videoboard. Already considering an advanced nursing degree, the moment pushed her to take the next step.

“I kind of felt like it was my sign,” Pierce said.

Afterward, she researched the program. Its online model and the communication she received from Director of Nursing Dr. Brooke McAtee made her decision to apply an easy one, Pierce said.

Navigating the program helped her develop a variety of skills, and she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  

“It was getting me into the world of technology,” Pierce said. “I learned team building and how to work well with others. It wasn’t all about me. You want to make sure you’re doing good for the team.”

Northwest relaunched its nursing program in 2018 as an online RN to BSN program in response to an increased demand for registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. The program has obtained nursing accreditation status from the National League for Nursing’s Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation. 

It is designed as a student-centered program that is conducive to the working nurse’s schedule and provides opportunity for nurses to advance in their professional roles at a state, national and international level. It emphasizes the importance of leadership skills in all service areas. It consists of seven-week sessions, enabling students to complete the program in less than a year. Students also have the opportunity to earn a nurse manager certificate through the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Northwest’s online RN to BSN program last year was ranked one of the best nursing education programs in the nation by EduMed.org, a resource connecting students with information about education, training and financial aid opportunities in healthcare and medical support.

Pierce says the personal attention she received from faculty enhanced her experience with the program, and receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing opened the door to her current role in case management at UnityPoint Health in Marshalltown, Iowa.

“It made me a more well-rounded nurse,” Pierce said. “I have more opportunities now with the BSN than I ever had before.”

Even at a young age, Pierce knew she wanted to help people. With her grandfather working as a doctor, she grew up with a unique understanding of the medical field. She decided to pursue nursing and began as the only nurse in the facility where she worked in Iowa. She gained valuable experience, working there for nine years before transferring to another UnityPoint Health hospital after moving to the Grinnell area. She has worked in variety of positions during her 29 years in the medical field.  

“I like to be the worker bee,” Pierce said. “It gets me closer to the patients and the families. That’s where I’m most comfortable. That’s where I’ll reside now until I retire.”

To learn more about Northwest’s online RN-BSN program, visit online.nwmissouri.edu/programs/rn-to-bsn.aspx, call 660.562.1973 or email nwnursing@nwmissouri.edu.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704