Kathryn didn’t decide to pursue nursing until her 40s. Before that, she and her husband, Craig, owned and operated a family business for many years. But Kathryn knew she wanted to accomplish more in her career — to effect change in the world. So, about 15 years ago, she enrolled in her first nursing program en route to becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN).
She advanced in her practice and her education — first with her LPN to registered nurse (RN) bridge, then with a bachelor’s degree — and eventually decided to pursue graduate-level education. But she wanted to do it right, in a way that made sense for her skills and preparation. Early in her nurse practitioner (NP) education at Maryville, she heeded the results of a skills and strengths assessment to pursue a different master’s degree in nursing leadership.
“I took the test, and it really showed me that I was not prepared at that moment to be a nurse practitioner, and that perhaps my interests lie in different areas,” Kathryn says. “And then I returned when I felt that I was in a position where I was ready to get my nurse practitioner.”
For the next phase in her career, Kathryn chose to earn her online Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care from Maryville. She says the university appealed to her because of its innovative approach in utilizing multiple methods of learning — not just reading and writing course materials.
“Maryville offered a variety of learning methods,” she says. “You do webinars, you do PowerPoints, there’s groups that you can work with, people you interact with. I found it a much more interactive online experience.”
While at Maryville, Kathryn was able to study nursing in an environment that challenged her to become the best nurse she could be while also working around her other commitments.
“I worked full time the entire time,” she says. “So even as a nurse practitioner student, I worked two jobs. Still, I work full time for the Department of Health and I work part time for the Joint Commission, and I was able to keep those up while still going to Maryville.”
In addition to the flexibility, Kathryn says she valued the faculty’s commitment to student success and the curriculum’s focus on group work, which she says prepared her for collaboration on high-profile projects in the real world.
“You don’t operate in a silo,” she says. “If you don’t help your coworkers and if your coworkers don’t help you, you don’t get through the day. You don’t know everything. There are things others know — you need to rely on your coworkers. You need to learn how to work together.”