Rachael “Brooke” Appler photo

Second Degree Accelerated Program BSN Student

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Prior to nursing school, I spent eight years working as a wilderness ranger and EMT for the National Park Service (NPS) out west. I loved working with park visitors in an emergency medical context and I came to love flying in helicopters during searches and while accompanying patients out of the backcountry. I also really enjoyed the freedom I had in moving around the country between my different NPS jobs. A few winters ago, just before COVID hit, I experienced a pretty serious foot injury and the death of a friend. My foot injury made me realize I wasn’t going to be able to carry a heavy backpack up mountains for the rest of my life. The death of my friend gave me a strong desire to work hard towards saving the loved ones of others. I also wanted to be able to continue traveling around the country. I spent the next six months healing (and quarantining) and had plenty of time to contemplate my next steps. I initially decided to pursue paramedicine with the intent to become a flight paramedic but, as I gave it more thought, I realized that nursing was the career for me.

What is the best thing about Mount Carmel College of Nursing?

I considered multiple colleges in multiple states in my search for an accelerated BSN program. Initially, the thing that struck me about Mount Carmel was the knowledge that I’d definitely get a good education for a comparably good price. Now that I’m more than halfway through my SDAP-13 program I have to say the professors are the best thing about MCCN. They’re incredibly kind, supportive, and inspiring. I’ve had amazing conversations that have shaped my nursing path and I deeply value their support throughout the intense SDAP program.

What are your goals for your nursing career?

After graduation I’ll return to the west. I’ve been based in rural eastern California for a number of years. I plan to move to Las Vegas, NV because I want the experience of working in a hospital within a large city. My ultimate goal is to be a flight nurse. I’ll pursue both ED and ICU positions for the first five years or so and then I plan to pursue flight nurse positions. During my nursing career I also plan to work as a travel nurse with Native peoples in both the southwestern states and Alaska.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in nursing?

I can’t think of a better career that offers as much flexibility and opportunity as nursing. I love that we all graduate with a nursing degree and are then free to pursue a myriad of specializations. A nursing career can work so well for those who love to travel nonstop and for those who want to raise a family. I’d also highly encourage everyone, no matter their career choice, to work towards improving the lives of others.

Why Choose Us


years of educating nurses


scholarship money awarded from the Mount Carmel Foundation in 2023


student-to-faculty ratio