Nursing is a profession of caring. As a nurse respect for human dignity is one of the core values I strive to maintain throughout my career. Advocacy is the consequence of that respect and requires that as a nurse, I am accorded the ability to understand healthcare from the patient’s perspective and range of socio-cultural factors that influence their decisions. I have acquired the knowledge to assess how each individual interacts with and relate to others, families, and communities within a constantly changing society. As a nurse and agent for change, it is my responsibility to analyze how their environment can positively or negatively affect health and research means that will promote the modification of stressors and develop alternative resources that can be made available to the individual. As a nurse on the forefront of my career, I hope to continue to evolve and assist our future nurses to be adaptable to those changes.
Part 1: Personal and professional goals
My name is Melinda Kelly, and I would like to share with you information about myself and my career goals. I currently reside in El Paso, Texas which borders New Mexico and the country of Mexico. I also reside in Scotland seasonally from June through August of each year. I came to the Southwest from Natchez which is a small town in Mississippi, because the opportunities available in my chosen profession of nursing were limited. My mother who was the charge nurse at a local convalescent home gave me my first nursing opportunity in the eleventh grade when she hired me on as a Nurse’s Aide in training. My mother is my role model. Every day of her working career, she displayed love, compassion and empathy towards her patients. The nurses under her tutelage were a source of information and never made others feel as if they were an inconvenience.
My professional goal is to obtain my Doctoral degree in Health Service’s self-designed program which will allow me the opportunity to choose courses that are education based. I chose this specialization because I have a commitment to learning, both personally and professionally. I know that returning to school and pursuing my degree will open up other opportunities in a world in which knowledge and class interaction will inspire me to advance my career even further. Now as an online student at Walden’s University, I hope to develop the skills and the foundation for the facilitation of learning through research, evaluation, advisement, and mentoring (NLN, 2008).
Part II: Educational Background and Research
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2005), the shortage of faculty in schools of nursing with baccalaureate and graduate programs is a continuing and expanding problem. “The deficit of faculty has reached critical proportions as the current faculty workforce rapidly advances toward retirement and the pool of younger replacement faculty decreases.” It is because of this shortage I feel that all nurses should have the opportunity to give back to the field of nursing through education.
After I left Mississippi, I continued my career as a Nurse’s Aide and worked as one for 5 years, during which time I found a rekindling of the love I had for caring for others and decided to continue my career by enrolling in nursing school in the Bachelors of Science of Nursing (BSN) program. In 1986, I challenged the Licensed Vocational Nurses licensure while in my second year of the (BSN) program and to my surprise passed the boards. I then worked as a Licensed Vocational Nurse for 5 years in Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Geriatrics while returning to school part-time. I attempted to return to the Bachelors of Science of Nursing program full-time, but was put on a waiting list and not wanting to wait any longer, I chose to complete the Associate Degree of Nursing program at New Mexico State University in 1991.
Working as an Associate Degree Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric ICU and Newborn Nursery was fulfilling but the long hours became impossible after my divorce. I needed an occupation that would allow me the freedom of being available for my children and earn a living. I left the hospital for Home Health Nursing. In Home Health, I discovered the independence in nursing that few hospital nurses can experience without an advanced degree. But I found that I still felt inadequate when it came to discussing and applying research to the work environment and also felt limited in my conversations with other (BSN) nurses.
It was working as a school nurse and being around educators which instilled in me the desire to follow a specialization in education. I felt it was imperative that I further my education and gain the knowledge that I felt lacking for all those years. This led me to Grand Canyon University where I could attend class online and continue to work full-time and obtain my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I completed my degree August 27, 2008. While attending Grand Canyon University I completed the Capstone Project: Effects of Nursing Shortage on Patient Care. The devotion to this project and the information I obtained encouraged as well as motivated me to go all the rest of the way in my education.
Attending Walden University was the next step in my learning. I entered Walden’s Masters program in nursing education and graduated June 2011. Entering collegiate education as a faculty member, I found I would have to return to school in order to obtain my Doctoral of Philosophy (PhD) in order to advance and teach BSN students, which was my dream. I began this journey applying in the Education department, but soon found that I had nothing in common with my cohorts, and subsequently found my home in the Health Sciences department. I chose to return to healthcare because I feel I can make a greater impact on future nurses all levels of curriculum. In addition, I feel that the information and training I will acquire through my PhD program will assist me in problem solving, research and development. I will also have the opportunity to perfect the APA style of writing as well as learn more in the field of research and its various applications in nursing. I am encouraged when I read how Walden’s faculty is contributing to professional nursing journals and hope to one day to be in their league. I am also encouraged that Walden, as a reputable institution, will provide me with the knowledge and skills I will need in order to be successful in my future endeavors. I viewed other college’s information on their Doctoral courses and their descriptions that was provided and I was impressed that Walden’s University did not treat their students as a financial entity but had a vested interest in their success. I also liked that the Doctoral program provided a course that would assist the student in beginning their program of study (Foundations of Graduate Study in Health Services (HLTH – 8001 – 3).
Walden’s mission, vision statements and visions of social change states “Walden University supports positive social change through the development of principled, knowledgeable, and ethical scholar-practitioners, who are and will become civic and professional role models by advancing the betterment of society (Walden, 2008).” By contributing to the nurse educator faculty shortage, I hope to better society by assisting with educating the nurses of tomorrow.
Part III: Plan of study and program of study form
Now that I have returned to school, I am reading more research papers and reviewing the APA writing style. I plan to devote more time to reading, reviewing and applying the information I learn into my daily routine. The subsequent pages include my Program of Study Form for Health Services Degree Program plans for the Doctoral program. My completion date is targeted for March of 2014. I am dedicated to becoming a professional researcher and educator through Walden’s University.
Upon collegiate education, I found I would have to return to school for my Doctoral of Philosophy (PhD) in order to advance and teach BSN students, which was my dream. I began this journey applying in the Education department, but soon found that I had nothing in common with my cohorts, and subsequently found my home in the Health Sciences department. I chose to return to healthcare because I feel I can make a greater impact on future nurses all levels of curriculum. In addition, I feel that the information and training I will acquire through my PhD program will assist me in problem solving, research and development.