For three months Bri Holder’s life was in an often heart-wrenching state of uncertainty. Born weighing just one pound, her oldest daughter spent three months in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), fighting for life. The experience transformed Bri. Her faith led her through the difficult months with a calling: to pursue a nursing career.

“It was in this time of watching the nurses not only save my daughter’s life, but also help her grow and thrive, that I began to realize God brought me to this scary and amazing time to discover my calling in life; to become a nurse,” says Bri.

It wasn’t an easy path, but today Bri is a bedside NICU nurse, working in “the same hospital, the same unit, and sometimes the same room where my daughter spent her first months of life,” she says.

The Stuff Nurses Are Made Of

In adversity we find heroes and heroism, in others and, sometimes, in ourselves. This is certainly the case for Bri.

She saw the courage and tenacity of the team of nurses shepherding a young life from fragility to vigor. Through the heroic actions of those NICU nurses and her daughter’s quiet will to live, she felt God’s hand move in her life. She saw the heroism that imbues the daily lives of nurses and she answered the call.

Every nurse’s story is unique, but each one carries a common thread – a profound desire to help others.

“As a nurse, you have the opportunity to change lives, enhance lives, save lives, and give comfort when lives are drifting away from us; to be a part of this is both an honor and a privilege.” say Bri.

In a world seemingly torn asunder, in the most tragic times of our lives, nurses step in when and where they can to give care, comfort, and inspire others. They are made, as the saying goes, of the right stuff.

Like the nurses that cared for her daughter, this is the path Bri Holder chose.

The Path to Online Nursing in Houston, Texas

The state of Texas requires RNs to complete a BSN degree within five years of receiving their RN license. Bri graduated magna cum laude from Houston Christian University’s online RN to BSN program in August of 2020. This wasn’t her first attempt. As any working professional knows, especially a nurse, earning a degree while maintaining a job and raising a family is no easy task.

“Prior to HCU, I had been a NICU RN for about 4 years and had attempted to bridge from RN to BSN twice before,” Bri says. “After having another high-risk pregnancy the first time and then walking through cancer and remission with my husband the second time, I still had not met this goal.” As always, Holder wasn’t going to let adversity get in the way of her mission.

“As the saying goes, however, the third time’s a charm and not even Coronavirus was going to stand between me and my BSN,” she says.

Bri researched online nursing programs in Texas and was particularly drawn to HCU in light of her previous attempts at earning her BSN. “I was very encouraged by the student success coaches as I had already attempted to bridge,” Bri says. “To have that extra layer of support made me feel confident that I could achieve my goals.”

Her confidence, as it turns out, was well placed.

Nursing Career Mentorship and Support

Commitment to student success is a cornerstone of any college or degree program. For RNs in Texas, this is especially critical. Long-term career opportunities in nursing depend on earning a BSN. Meeting the needs of students requires a program keenly aware of its role as guide and mentor. For Bri, HCU’s dedication to its students was apparent from the outset.

“In the beginning I spoke with many people and they all seemed happy, confident, and eager to help me achieve my goals,” says Bri. “Without success coaches Tiffany and Juli, I would have become so overwhelmed and I owe all my success to them wholeheartedly.”

The encouragement and support afforded Bri by her success coaches, professors, and staff gave her confidence that she could manage the demands of being a wife, mother, working nurse, and student.

“The professors were so encouraging and supportive,” she says. “While being a wife, mom of three young kiddos, and full-time night shift nurse with a 90-minute commute to Fort Worth, there were many times where I knew I was going to have to be honest with them about having ‘busy weeks’ in my life and they were always understanding…”

Bri emphasizes how much the accommodation to her needs and constant support from her team at HCU meant to her success.

“I loved the flexibility to move classes around if you want to take more or less at certain times of the year,” she says. “It was amazing to have the success coaches at my side… the understanding of being a real person who is also a student was so refreshing.”

Nursing as a Full Body Experience

From the trial of nearly losing a newborn child, Bri drew inspiration. To that she added perseverance and sheer tenacity to become an RN and earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Through the difficult times, the sleepless nights, the moments of doubt, Bri Holder held true to the path God opened up for her. It wasn’t easy. It still isn’t. But it is rewarding. And it defines who she is and what she gives to a world so sorely in need of people like her.

“Being a nurse asks me to use every cell of my body as I run to a falling heart rate; every neuron of my brain as I trace the wanted effects, side-effects, and compatibilities of 15 to 20 medications being delivered to the same patient; and every beat of my heart to hold it together so the family can fall apart when things are happening too fast, too slow, or not at all,” she says. “Outside of being a wife and mother, these are the responsibilities that give me purpose and definition.”

Brie whole-heartedly recommends HCU’s online RN to BSN program for others following in her path, looking for the right fit. Invaluable, she says, is “the confidence you gain from the coaches, program leaders, professors, and students you walk alongside. With the many options out there, HCU brings so many opportunities for success, knowledge growth, and deeper understanding.”

It takes a village, so the saying goes. To raise a child, to save a child, to become all that we can. We all rely on each other as we pull down deep inside ourselves to reach for the stars. This is what Bri Holder’s story teaches us.