FastBacc® program at the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing is an intensive one-year commitment to becoming a nurse in an accelerated pace. Getting to know the incredible faculty that teach this revered program makes the educational experience even better. Meet Libby Rosonet, DNP, RN, CPHON, Clinical Instructor at the LHSON.
What is your role with FastBacc®? Why do you enjoy teaching in this program?
I have the distinct privilege of serving as the Fastbacc advisor. Meaning, I get to support and encourage them throughout their time in the program, whether they need a listening ear, connections to resources the school provides, or advice on their future career. I LOVE teaching in this program because these are my people! I was a second-degree student, coming from a previous career, and completed an accelerated program that was hybrid in nature (some classes in person, others online). So, I feel like I have a unique understanding of what these twelve months are like—what makes it difficult, the struggle to balance home life and school, the adjustment to the pacing of it. Their concerns and fears resonate with me because I’ve been there and remember it vividly.
Describe why you became a nurse and a professor in the field?
While a middle and high school teacher and coach, I went on a mission trip to Haiti with a group of nursing students. On that trip, I realized that while education is powerful, it is impossible to pursue without access to healthcare that enables one to be healthy enough to attend school. I loved the idea of pursuing a career that allowed me to minister to the physical needs of others, while also being a source of comfort and support for them and their families, and ultimately hopefully helping them to be well enough to pursue their dreams and goals.
Why did you decide to teach at Baylor and what distinguishes a Baylor nurse?
I loved the idea of taking my experience as a middle and high school teacher and using it to teach nursing, equipping the next generation of nurses to go out and make a tangible difference in the profession and in the lives of their patients and families. Baylor, specifically, struck me as a place that places a high value on the students as individuals and genuinely cares for each student as a person. They are dedicated to the success of their students in a very holistic way, and that is something I take very seriously as an educator. I wanted to be in a place that was known for that. A Baylor nurse is someone who feels called to nursing. As such, they see their patients as more than a number; they see them as a person. They work to remove their own bias and prejudice and provide the highest quality of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual care to not only the patient but the families as well. They also recognize their role as a member of a healthcare team and place a high priority on working well with others through the provision of clear communication, encouragement, and support.
How do you think the FastBacc® program strengthens future nurse leaders?
I tell students all the time that completing the FastBacc program looks incredible to those in the nursing field because it shows they can handle a fast-paced, ever-changing environment that requires them to learn new skills quickly, work independently while also being a part of a team, be flexible, and multi-task and prioritize their work. Every one of those skills is essential to being a successful nurse, and they’ve already been actively practicing them for twelve months before ever becoming a registered nurse.
What advice would you give someone considering the FastBacc program?
Take the time to do a self-inventory and think about the ways you learn best, the areas of the program you might struggle with, and what potential stresses you have in your life now and in the next twelve months. Know that this program is DOABLE and REWARDING and that you won’t find a group of faculty or staff that is more supportive of you and your desire to become a nurse, but that this program requires intense focus and hard-work. Be realistic about who you are, where you are in life, and what you think is doable for you right now. The FastBacc program is incredibly vital because we need more nurses in the profession, but we also need more nurses who are well-rounded and come with a variety of backgrounds and experiences that they can incorporate into the nursing profession. It makes us all better when we can have a different perspective and skill set available to us when tackling a problem. That is a FastBacc student—that first degree in another field of study, that other career, those volunteer experiences and overseas trips—all of them enable you to lend something richer and fuller to the nursing profession that is desperately needed.
Describe how a FastBacc® student/grad can exemplify the LHSON motto, Learn.Lead.Serve.®?
By their very nature, FastBacc students have a hunger to learn. It’s part of the reason they weren’t satisfied with only one degree (and some have more than one when they get to us). They also have a deep commitment to excellence, which compels them to learn as much as they can so they can excel in their new profession. There is a maturity to a FastBacc student that naturally lends itself to providing leadership. Some have been leaders in previous environments, and they are eager to take those skills and apply them in a different setting. Within the program, I’ve often witnessed them provide words of advice to younger traditional students who may be struggling with schoolwork or life in general. Because of the rigor of the program, FastBacc students quickly become a tight-knit group, and they are committed to serving one another. They provide support and encouragement to their classmates and rally behind them when life throws one of them a curveball. It’s a beautiful thing to see. They also take the time to serve in the community in a variety of ways, including food drives, coat drives, and charity events in Dallas.