[Bridgeview, IL] – Northwestern College’s Violet L. Schumacher School of Nursing was opened in Fall 2010 and continues to add seasoned professionals with “heart” to its Nursing Program Faculty. When it welcomed Richae “Rikki” Muro to its faculty in Fall 2012, the decision was made based on her credentials and professional experience. But what the Nursing School got was an Assistant Professor who had overcome great odds to earn her RN degree, making her someone her students could better relate to as they strove to overcome their own personal, family and educational hurdles to achieve their dreams of becoming registered nurses.
Muro came to Northwestern College’s School of Nursing after 4 ½ years of work in hospice care, including Intellatriage (a national triage hospice company), Ingalls Hospice of Harvey and Season’s Hospice & Palliative Care of Willowbrook. Prior to that she was a Trauma Nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where she also served as a Charge Nurse, Wound Care & Fall Prevention Liaison, Preceptor & Educator, and Pain Service Resource Nurse.
Muro obtained her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) designation in February 2003. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Xavier University in Chicago in May 2005, then her Master of Science in Nursing in July 2012 from Benedictine University of Lisle. She is licensed to practice in ten states including Illinois, Texas, Oregon, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington DC, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida.
Northwestern College’s Violet L. Schumacher School of Nursing first hired Muro as adjunct clinical staff. She has since been promoted to Assistant Nursing Professor and now also serves as the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Course Chair. She has since developed the School’s first hybrid nursing class, “Nursing Leadership,” taught both in the classroom and online.
While it is Muro’s professional and educational credentials that led to her being hired at the Violet L. Schumacher School of Nursing, it is her personal experiences and life triumphs that give her “heart” to work with every Nursing student assigned to her classes and to instill in each of them that whatever the obstacles, they can be overcome. When asked to summarize her accomplishments and credentials, Muro responded as follows:
"Each day as I prepare for lecture I glance over at my bulletin board and reflect upon a quote that feeds my fuel for the fire....."Success is the sweetest revenge." (Vanessa Williams). As a young girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago I quickly found myself engulfed in teenage mishaps and misfortunes. I was pregnant at 16 with my first child and forced to take my classes at home, then come in to the school office on Fridays to turn in homework and take tests. The Catholic school I went to didn’t want to see a pregnant student in uniform. But when the baby was born I had no childcare in addition to a lot of new financial obligations, forcing me to drop out of high school. While I was able to get my GED when I was 18, at 19 I got pregnant again with our second child. Needless to say, this series of events certainly put me out of the running for any college prep or immediate educational goals.
My boyfriend and I spent several years just trying to keep a roof over our heads, feed our kids and make ends meet as best we could. We were hungry, cold, and every day’s mail included final notices, leaving us surprised and grateful each day when we still had heat, water, and electricity. Without public aid we never would’ve survived, although getting off it years later was a huge accomplishment for us.
When my second child was about one year old I enrolled at Moraine Valley Community College to get a solid GPA so that I could eventually apply for admission to a University. I managed to obtain a 4.0 while attending part-time and was accepted at Saint Xavier University School of Nursing. Throughout my full time attendance at SXU I waitressed to assist with household finances and married my children's father. In 2005 I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and began employment at Advocate Christ Medical Center as a Trauma Nurse. After approximately 4 years there, I decided I wanted a change in my career and simultaneously began working as a Hospice Case Manager in addition to enrolling in graduate School. However, with just a few classes left before earning my Masters, I became pregnant with my third child. But serious complications led to a medical directive to quit both my job and school and commit to complete bed-rest. Quitting my job was a financial impossibility, but I was forced to halt my Master’s Program. The school didn’t see it that way and threw me out of the program. After my baby was born I entered Benedictine University’s Master’s Program in hopes of finishing. Though I had only been a class or two shy of my Master’s when I quit for medical reasons, Benedictine could only accept ten of my credits. I was forced to start over – and pay for it twice!
Throughout my three years as a graduate student, I maintained a 4.0 GPA and was simultaneously promoted to an Administrator position within the Hospice specialty. I finally graduated in 2012 with my Master in Science of Nursing Degree and began my employment here at Northwestern College as Adjunct Clinical Staff.
I have been with Northwestern College for about a year and a half and have since become full time faculty, with educational experience in lecture, clinical, simulation, lab and online components of Mental Health, Fundamentals, Leadership, and Medical Surgical Nursing. While my accomplishments were of great magnitude, it was my dedication that kept me focused, and this is something that I stress with my students through every interaction.
I truly enjoy working with our "non-traditional" students, as I too was once carrying the same bags that they do. Whether it be a diaper bag, grocery bag or book bag, it is important for each student to know that they do not carry it alone. As their professor, I am dedicated to guide them professionally through support and education in pursuing their careers goals." Richae (Rikki) Muro, MSN, RN
Northwestern College is proud of the accomplishments of each of its instructors. Its students continuously list the caring, hands-on faculty as one of the things they like most about the College. Professor Muro did not have an easy time attaining her accomplishments, but she is a testimony of what tenacity and drive for success can lead you to achieve. She shares her story with Nursing students every day in the classroom and labs, providing them with reinforcement that no matter what the obstacles they are facing, they too can achieve their dream of one day caring for the sick as registered nurses!
Muro is a lifetime resident of Chicago’s South Side where she resides with her husband and three children, ages 18, 15 and 4.
About Northwestern College: Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools,
http://www.ncahlc.org. The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available with campuses in Chicago and Bridgeview, in addition to NC Online. More information can be found at
www.northwesterncollege.edu or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.