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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Julie Tollefson: RN to BS Program Helps Her Realize Dream of Nurse Anesthesia School

Earning a second bachelor of science degree to further a nursing career

Julie Tollefson

After 10 years working as an RN in the ER, Julie Tollefson, an RN to BS student at CU College of Nursing, made the decision to go back to school to earn her second bachelor of science degree so she could further her career in nursing. Originally completing a bachelor of science in exercise physiology in 1998,  Tollefson decided to attend school for her associate degree in nursing  at the age of 27 after she realized her passion to work in the ER.   Her passion for the ER hasn’t waned, however life changes have altered her direction. Consequently, Tollefson entered the RN to BS program – a unique program that gives RNs the opportunity to work more with the management side of nursing and helps them earn a degree that opens doors in the nursing world.  “I have been doing ER for almost 10 years and eventually I want to have kids and a family,” she says. “I want to do something nine to five, and with anesthesia you can go work normal hours.” 

Designed as an online program, licensed RNs can earn their bachelor’s degrees while working full-time in the field. “A lot of it was online,” she says about the program. “But even for the clinicals we had to do most of the facilities worked with me because they knew I was a nurse working full time. Additionally, the convenience of the online program fit Tollefson’s schedule. “I liked that it was very flexible,” she says. “I liked how the online classes were set up. We had discussion boards and, although I didn’t meet my classmates, I felt like I still knew them.”