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Nursing was always her passion. With Maryville Online, it’s now her mission.


Danielle Van Komen enjoys helping people get through traumatic experiences. It’s one of the reasons she decided to commit herself to the nursing profession.


As a nurse, she has the chance to be brave and do work she can be proud of. She says she enjoys discovering new challenges and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of her patients on a daily basis. That’s why she decided to find a way to do more.


“I talked to a nurse practitioner colleague,” Danielle says. “She said if there was any way to move forward, adding a nurse practitioner specialty is the way to go because it just opens a lot more doors.”


Guided by a newfound sense of purpose and direction, Danielle realized that she needed to enhance her own education to stay ahead of the curve. By focusing on cutting-edge medical research, life-saving technology, and staying true to the core principles of nursing, she could help advance her own standing — as well as the nursing profession as a whole.


That’s when she discovered the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Maryville University, which enabled her to find a greater purpose in the work she already enjoys doing.


“Online learning is everything I expected it to be,” Danielle says. “It was so flexible with my work and family life that it’s just been a fairly smooth sail.”


Maryville’s commitment to innovative learning and high-quality, student-focused education resonated with Danielle’s personal and professional ambitions — and ultimately helped her advance from a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to nurse practitioner (NP) in only five years.

Online learning is everything I expected it to be. It was so flexible with my work and family life that it’s just been a fairly smooth sail.
Photo of Danielle Van Komen
Photo of Danielle Van Komen

Adding skills and confidence to support her practice

Danielle’s path to an online MSN took shape as a result of another one of her passions.


“I originally chose Maryville because I’m a St. Louis Blues fan,” Danielle says. “Since Maryville is in St. Louis, I was hoping that once I finished, I’d get to see a Blues game when I came out for graduation.”


Once she started at Maryville, she was confident her decision was the right one.


At first, Danielle had plans to advance her position through healthcare administration. “I finished my bachelor’s, and then I just thought, what next?” she says. But she soon learned that an online Master of Science in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization (MSN-FNP) could help bridge the gap between direct patient care and nursing administration.


After taking a close look at the direction of her career — as well as the long-term potential of advanced nursing — Danielle realized that earning her nurse practitioner credentials would provide greater career options and flexibility.


With work and family being such important parts of her life, she knew that online learning was the best way to balance her marriage and career.


“I ended up being really happy that I chose Maryville,” Danielle says. “It’s online, and the price was comparable to all the surrounding universities, so it ended up being a good choice.”


With Maryville, Danielle was able to supplement her experience with a depth of knowledge reinforced by a dedicated faculty of skilled nurses. Moreover, her online degree program gave her the opportunity to enhance her nursing skills on the job through experiential training in real-world settings.


“I loved the [clinical] precepting that we did,” Danielle says. “I have been blessed to go with a ton of different doctors — about three different doctors each semester. I wanted the variety to learn how all the different doctors do the same thing, and that has been awesome.”

Building strong connections through online learning

With students from across the country interacting in online nursing classes, technology stands as the centerpiece of the Maryville Online student experience.


Danielle credits the on-the-go interactivity and social media presence at Maryville for helping her reach out to and collaborate with the Maryville Online student community in a way that paralleled the on-campus experience. She says the relationships she built with her classmates helped enhance her online experience.


“I loved the Facebook groups that Maryville has,” Danielle says. “I feel like I made a lot of connections and friends in my graduating class. I finished my degree with a lot of friends from all over the country. To me, that’s awesome.”


Soon after graduation, Danielle accepted a position as a wound care and hyperbaric medicine nurse practitioner at an outpatient hospital-based wound care and hyperbaric medicine center.

I’m brave because I did an online program for the past 2 1/2 years, and now I’m graduating.

Entering a brave new world of opportunity

Striking a careful balance between her nursing career, family life, and education took patience and resolve. Through it all, Danielle’s commitment to enhancing her skills helped position her for career advancement in the years to come.


She encourages others who are considering earning their online degree to find similar dedication to personal and professional achievement within themselves.


“If you’re thinking about it, just do it,” Danielle says. “With all the time you’re spending just waiting and thinking about it, you could be done with school by the time that you actually decide to take the plunge. You might as well just go for it.”


And Danielle eventually did make time to attend a St. Louis Blues hockey game. “It was awesome,” she recalls. “Even though they lost.” But success isn’t measured in one night — it’s the whole journey. The Blues went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2019, and Danielle earned a degree that helped position her for long-term nursing success.


“Graduating from Maryville helped me to better myself for the future ― and for my family,” Danielle she says.


That’s what we call a winning attitude.


Danielle’s journey with Maryville Online highlights the power of education as a positive force for change. Moving ahead in your career takes bravery and commitment — and at Maryville, we’re here to support you every step of the way.


If you’re ready to see how Maryville Online can help you be brave and pursue your educational and professional goals, we’re here for you. Check out our online bachelor’s degreesmaster’s degrees, and doctorate degrees, or schedule a call with an advisor today.

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