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In 5 steps, one nurse wrote her own story as a working grandparent.


Celena Shivers had a clear idea about what she wanted from life. She wanted to be a nurse, offering specialized care to her patients. That’s when she decided to write her own story, crafting a future for herself that matched her vision.


As in any journey, she experienced trials, obstacles, and challenges, including the need to help raise her three young grandchildren.


But she didn’t allow any challenge to define her or hold her back, because she always pictured herself in this setting: enrolled at Maryville, preparing for a career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

I’m not going to sit back and wait. This is my destiny.

Advice for nursing professionals pursuing advanced education

Celena advises others who may be considering furthering their education “to just step out and do it — even if it’s just applying to see what happens.”


Like every student, Celena walked her own path to continue her nursing education. But while her journey is uniquely hers, the broad strokes of her experiences are universal. Break them down, and you can even apply these five steps as you pursue your own education.


1. Visualize your goals

Celena lived in St. Louis 12 years ago and would drive by the Maryville campus, impressed by its academic reputation in nursing. She had a clear goal in mind when she applied for her post-master’s certificate. She knew what she wanted, and being able to picture it helped her take the first step of applying.


2. Find your passion

“When I first went to nursing school,” Celena says, “I met a nurse practitioner working in a psychiatric mental health hospital, and I liked seeing the changes she made for the patients she treated.”


Celena loved those cases so much that she decided to pursue a career in psychiatric mental health. She was driven by discovering her passion for care, and it helped her achieve her educational goal of earning her post-master’s certificate.


3. Lean on your advisor

At Maryville, your advisor is one of your best resources for success. Advisors are in your corner and invested in helping you get the most out of your education and maintain balance in your life.


Celena’s academic advisor at Maryville called her throughout the program, urging her to the finish line with the words: “You can do this.”


4. Power through tough times

There are always going to be challenges. In fact, Celena talks about hitting a hurdle in a course that she failed. Celena also experienced personal upheaval, being called on to raise her grandchildren at the same time she pursued her certificate. Through everything, she persevered, knowing the outcome would be worth the difficulty in the end.


5. Celebrate your wins

Celena knows how important it can be to reward yourself. In fact, she saved the biggest celebration for last. After she completed her program, she made it a point to travel to attend her commencement on campus at Maryville, so she could celebrate with her class, get her diploma in hand, and throw her cap in the air.

What’s next for Celena after earning her online post-master’s certificate from Maryville?

Celena doesn’t want to wait too long before taking the next step on her career path, and she has her eye on further education. She’s already begun investigating the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Maryville.


She wants to get started soon, because otherwise, “you get involved in life and education seems less important.” She’s going to jump back in and continue authoring her story.


“Don’t wait too long, because there’s never going to be a perfect time,” she says.


Are you ready to be brave in pursuit of your goals? We’re here for you. Check out our certificate degreesbachelor’s degreesmaster’s degrees, and doctorate degrees, or schedule a call with an advisor today.

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