Students in field

Alumni Spotlight: Kelly Aho, BSN

June 13, 2018

Kelly Aho dreamed of advancing her career through the online RN-BSN program. After graduating in December 2017, she earned a promotion.


When Kelly Aho (’94, ’17) first came to Suomi College in the 1990s, she wanted to be a teacher.

She graduated as an RN instead.

“I decided that nursing is very much like teaching,” said Aho. “You do a lot of patient education, and I like being with patients and their families helping them navigate their healthcare.”

Now the unit manager of surgical practices at UP Health System-Portage, she can’t help but think about how different her life is now thanks to her time at Suomi and later Finlandia University. In an effort to advance her career and learn more professionally, Aho enrolled in the online RN-BSN program four years ago.

In December, she graduated from the program.

Although Aho only just recently graduated, obtaining a BSN had been on her bucket list for a while.

“I initially contemplated coming back to nursing school for my BSN probably about seven or eight years ago,” said Aho. “At that time, classes were held on campus and there wasn’t an online program. I found out that it probably wasn’t the right fit for me at the time because my children were young, my husband worked night shift and I knew I wouldn’t have time to come to campus for traditional classes.”

A few years later, a childhood friend who works at Finlandia told Aho about the online program.

“She told me I would be perfect for the new online program,” said Aho. “It was tailored toward nurses who have families and work full time and that there were some great scholarships and financial aid opportunities.”

Aho enrolled that fall.

At first, she was apprehensive about the online format. It had been 20 years since she had attended school, but her fears quickly dissipated after a few days.

“The online courses were a very small learning curve for someone like me who works every day in electronic medical records and spends a majority of my day on a computer,” said Aho. “I bought a laptop and that laptop came with me everywhere. I incorporated it into my daily schedule pretty seamlessly.”

The Benefits of a Local Online Rn-BSN Program

One of the biggest advantages to Finlandia’s online program Aho found was that she could easily reach the faculty.

Kelly Aho RN-BSN“Absolutely I did stop in to see them,” said Aho. “You have questions about things that are going on or, at times, you may have some difficulty with some things and it changes everything to be able to drive a mile from where I work to stop in and see them. That personal touch of the faculty being local and available was imperative to my success.”

Aho graduated in December 2017 and began to see the fruits of her labor almost immediately.

“Management was something that was kind of in my wheelhouse that I wanted to explore, and I knew that having my BSN was instrumental in being able to do that,” said Aho. “An opportunity became available two months ago. It’s a managerial position which I may not have been qualified for and certainly wouldn’t have had experience in before the BSN program.”

While Aho is reveling in her new management position, she’s also encouraging others to take the leap and obtain their BSN.

“I would absolutely encourage RNs who are looking at, or have even had a thought in the back of their mind of pursing a BSN to go for it,” she said. “It’s a lot easier than you think and once people get into it they’ll see the support they get and that they can be really successful. The online program is the way to go.”



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