Gator Advances Her Nursing Career with a UF BSN at Age 47

It’s never too late to pursue your passion. For Betty Alcover, 47, making the transition from the financial side to the medical side of healthcare was a keen goal of hers. Starting out in insurance billing at a top hospital in Tampa, FL, Betty longed for patient care. To achieve her dreams of becoming a nurse, Betty went back to college, earning her associate’s degree and Registered Nurse (RN) licensure in her 40s. Eager to follow her goal of working in the emergency department, Betty knew she needed to earn her bachelor’s in nursing to take her career to the next level.

Betty’s ambitions had always been set on becoming a Gator Nurse, so she applied and was accepted into the highly-regarded University of Florida College of Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Thankfully, the UF College of Nursing designed and built the online pathway to a BSN degree through UF Online for nurses like Betty. With UF Online, Betty is able to join the UF nursing program all the way from her home in Tampa, maintaining her full-time job at BayCare Health Systems, where she has been a loyal employee for 27 years.


When Betty graduated high school in 1991, she landed a full-time job at St. Joseph’s hospital in Tampa, now a part of BayCare Health Systems. Over the course of her career at the hospital, Betty has worked in various departments from insurance billing, to hospital collections, and now the denial claims area.

While Betty enjoys her job, she was looking for more growth opportunities and has always wanted to put her compassionate nature to work by becoming a nurse. Betty knew she needed to head back to college to first earn an Associate of Science in Nursing.

Having made the decision to pursue this path, Betty attended a local college in the Tampa area, earning her associate’s degree and obtaining her RN licensure. From there, she knew it would be best to earn her BSN degree. Especially, since the hospital Betty works at requires their nurses to have a BSN degree. The UF Online pathway then became a lifeline for Betty to fulfill this requirement, as well as giving her the opportunity to continue her education at the flagship University of Florida.

Today, many medical facilities and public school systems require their nurses to obtain a BSN degree. While many facilities will allow their nurses to earn their BSN within a two-year time frame from their hiring date, other nursing jobs won’t even consider applicants with only an RN licensure for competitive nursing roles.


There was no question for Betty on whether earning a BSN was in the cards or not. She knew she wanted to earn her bachelor’s, and there was only one university she wanted to earn it from.

“I didn’t have a backup plan, so it was going to be the University of Florida, or I was just going to keep trying since this is the university that I’ve always wanted to go to,” Betty said.

As a native Floridian in the Tampa area, Betty never had plans to move to Gainesville to attend UF. She supports herself, and she would need to uproot her life to attend the program in person. When she came across UF Online’s RN to BSN program, she instantly knew it was for her.

“I chose the University of Florida for a lot of reasons,” Betty said. “Especially since the University of Florida is one of the top-ranked universities for this particular online program.”

Did you know?

UF College of Nursing students, on average, graduate with a GPA between 3.5 and 3.6. About 70% of UF BSN alumni also go on to pursue graduate education within three years of earning their BSN. Plus, Gator Nursing Baccalaureate graduates achieve a passing rate well above 90% on the licensure exams. UF produces the largest number of graduate-level prepared nurses in the state of Florida.


While all of Betty’s UF professors have been a huge asset to her education throughout the BSN program, one professor, in particular, David Derrico, has been one of Betty’s favorite professors in her academic career. She has taken his courses in Health Assessment and Pathophysiology and Pharmacology. His guidance was especially touching to Betty during a tough time in her life. Her father was recently diagnosed with cancer, and having one of the modules in Professor Derrico’s course focused on cancer has been incredibly helpful for Betty.

Professor Derrico found Betty to be an excellent student in his online courses. “Betty regularly takes initiative to reach out to me to clarify assignments, or just to say thank you for the information or guidance I provided to the class,” he said. Professor Derrico continued, “Betty stands out as not only an exceptional student, but also as a person that I have gotten to know through communication and collaboration.”


Now that Betty is two semesters into the UF BSN program, Betty notes that she has already learned so much and accomplished milestones she never thought possible. She continues to remind herself why she is working so hard to achieve her goals.

“Working as hard as I have has made me appreciate it more. A lot of the sacrifices I made have turned into accomplishments that I’m proud of,” she stated. “The accomplishment of passing the NCLEX-RN exam [a key college nursing exam] first time around for me has been one of the best accomplishments I’ve achieved in my life!”

After graduating, Betty aims to earn a nurse resident position at BayCare Health Systems where she works. Her dream is to work in the cardiac unit of the hospital Emergency Medicine department. She is eager to deliver excellent care in a fast-paced environment and is drawn to help patients that need emergency care.

“I love to help people,” Betty said. “That’s why the nursing profession is such an amazing choice for me on a personal level.”

As a member of the Gator Nation, Betty serves as another example of the dedication, drive, and passion UF Online students have for their futures. As the demand for nurses continues to rise across the country, it’s heartening to see a Gator like Betty work so hard to help those in need of excellent patient care. Through UF Online, Betty can achieve her dreams with stellar academic credentials.

The number of RNs earning their BSN degree continues to grow, and now is the time join top nurses with this credential. The RN to BSN program from the UF College of Nursing offered via UF Online accepts new applicants every spring semester. The deadline to apply is quickly approaching this August 31st to start classes in January 2021. With this program, you’ll prepare yourself for leadership opportunities in the nursing field. Interested in learning more about this major? Visit the UF Online degrees page .