On the day of my undergraduate nursing pinning ceremony, my nursing advisor stated to my father that she hoped I would pursue a graduate degree in nursing.
My parents wanted me to enroll immediately as a result of my professor’s vote of confidence, but I chose to delay it thinking I should experience the bedside for a few years. A few years turned into 15. In that time, I realized that I did not wish to become a neonatal nurse practitioner as I initially presumed for myself. My mother had always encouraged me to consider nursing education, yet the closest I came to this role was as a preceptor for new nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Occasionally I would investigate graduate nursing programs but never considered any to be the right match. A nurse I mentored informed me about her experience with Indiana State University’s graduate nursing education program. She believed I would be an excellent nurse educator and told me that Indiana State would grant me the best start to this career option. She immediately filled out the initial inquiry application on my behalf, and I soon embarked on what I believe to be one of the best educational experiences possible.
Initially getting back into the groove of school was not easy, but the support of the graduate nursing department was top notch making the transition to balancing graduate school and a professional and personal life attainable. The program is rigorous but truly develops an opportunity to master the critical thinking process. The techniques involved in adult learning and assignments provided greatly assisted in the development process of not only shaping a competent nurse educator but also striving to instill the highest standards possible for the role.
The program was unlike other programs I investigated since Indiana State University did not cut corners with their curriculum to process students simply to the degree. In comparison, I had pivotal experiences enabling me to feel confident as a newcomer to the field of nursing education. The coursework allowed me to generate a portfolio and manuscript for publication, as well as foster essential contact resources for the advancement of my new role as an educator. I especially enjoyed the clinical semesters since they helped me experience the role of a nurse educator in a clinical, classroom and hospital setting directly. These clinical opportunities paved the way in becoming fully prepared for all potential areas for a nurse educator as well as allow me to experience the satisfaction of actually making a positive difference in the lives of my first university nursing students.
One of the main reasons, I wholly appreciated Indiana State University's program was due to the faculty I encountered. Their warmth and encouragement throughout the process were genuinely felt and made all the difference in achieving my masters in nursing education in December 2015. The instructors served not only as mentors but also as role models to truly emulate. Every professor was dedicated to providing their students with the best path to succeed. I am extremely proud of being an alumni of Indiana State University's graduate nursing education program and am forever grateful for the expertise this program provided me to offer my future students.