Melanie McCall RN is one of many Suncoast area nurses well into her fifties who has decided “it’s finally time to just get this thing done”. Melanie is enrolled in Grand Canyon University for her bachelor of science in nursing degree. “The first class was a huge departure and it took me some time to re-appropriate and get my schedules in balance. I have completed 4 courses and currently in community and public health. This class is right up my alley… epidemiology, disease, public health… it’s all very familiar and comfortable!! I finally gotten the groove and have straight A’s in all of my courses.”
“It seems I do some things late! I did not become a mother till the age of 42! Vastin, my son, is 17 and lives mostly with his father on a cattle ranch in Arcadia where he enjoys hunting, fishing and riding his horses. He comes to see me in Punta Gorda when he is ready to fish the canals and the harbor. “
Melanie also is a soprano soloist with local orchestras
In addition to having a baby in her forties and going back to school in her fifties, Melanie has just become a new bride! “We are in the same room every evening and he is very tolerant of looking at my back as I work on the computer doing school work. Bill is the kindest soul I’ve ever met. We both see the time spent online with Grand Canyon is an investment in our future.”
“Grand Canyon has been wonderful because they provide an advisor and mentor. That gal is phenomenal. She met with us all weekly during the first class all the way through to make sure we knew what we were doing in the cloud system, on papers, helping us with APA format. Looking over our papers to give us positive or negative feedback. She really goes all out. She wants to make sure we are successful. This has been such a positive experience. I am now thinking of becoming a nurse practitioner and I am even toying with the idea of the doctorate in nursing.”
“The SNAC nurse education navigator has been useful in providing contacts and advice for choosing a good fit for my graduate program and information about scholarships at the bachelors and doctoral level.”
Melanie has over 30 years of experience in nursing and currently practices as board certified infection control practitioner at Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte. She feels that Fawcett Memorial has been particularly supportive of nurses returning to advance their professional education. The tuition assistance HCA has been a major factor in deciding to return to school. “It’s a benefit the hospital offers and if you don’t use it, you lose it! It makes sense to take full advantage.” Melanie is also applying for other scholarships throughout the Suncoast including the SNAC BSN completion scholarship.
SNAC asked Melanie what recommendations she would give to other nurses in their fifties. “Don’t ever think you can’t do it, because you can! Especially in your fifties when things are settled. But don’t put it off because the older we get the harder it is.”
Lisa Smith RN is employed at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in cancer research. Serious business.
She also models bridal fashions for Charlotte Bridal Boutique. This tall willowy blonde with a huge smile provides modeling services and for the last few years has modeled bridal wear in the Southwest Wedding Expo held in several locations throughout Charlotte & Sarasota counties. “My grandmother predicted I would be a model as a woman of courage and this is my interpretation of her prediction. Life is a lot of fun now.”
Lisa has had some horrendous health issues in the past three years. You know enough to imagine the details but suffice it to say she is lucky to be alive today. “After a bout with post-op sepsis, and several days in the intensive care, a pleural effusion, pericarditis, splenomegaly & a gastro-intestinal bleed that required an additional surgery to repair. I woke to the realization my time here was limited. After barely regaining any strength, I landed with a complete bowel obstruction. I had a complete life evaluation in a hospital bed, and decided I was heading back to school.” Lisa knows she’s one fortunate woman and intends to spend every day as if it were her last. A mature nurse who has spent over 25 years in clinical practice ranging from physician practice to ICU, ER, and trauma radiology and now cancer research, she “decided it was simply time when to get on with it.” She chose State College of Florida and will graduate in December, 2016 with her BSN.
But that’s not the only goal she has in mind. Lisa has been accepted into the University of South Florida and is applying to the BSN to DNP program with plans for enrolling in the adult acute nurse practitioner curriculum. She already has identified a potential Capstone project topic on PTSD veterans. “Improving their quality of life and decreasing veteran suicide rates through use of trained animals, (funding proposed to defund animal shelters and fund training and support) and therapeutic anaoxyltics, & continued support, so that these heroes can once again be productive members of society. I would like to write for a grant through the DVA to start the program locally and have an animal training team of experts on board, willing to jump in as needed. I will be working through local Veterans associations to collaborate my project with.” Tall beautiful blonde model yes; but no fluff head here!
So how has this total change in her life affected Lisa? She has really enjoyed the journey and her family has been very supportive. “They’re kind of used to my attending to school work and know I place a high value on education. They’re very proud of me.”
“Life is a journey and it’s about being happy every day you can are given. You must make the best of the time you have. My children inspired me to want to become an example. So much in nursing is changing; life-long learning is essential in our profession.”
“I really enjoy working in a magnet hospital at Sarasota memorial, our Magnet status is huge. Their support for graduate nursing education is essential. Sarasota Memorial Hospital, is opening a clinic in New Town, I am considering hrsa.gov for scholarships for school. The scholarship, as many do, is a process and requires post grad work at a public hospital for few years. VA hospitals also interest me. I enjoy serving those who need it most, and find it personally rewarding. I discovered through my leadership course, that my style of leadership is integrated with serving those who need it most. I also developed a Sarasota Pay it Forward initiative during my training, which again reinforces my innate drive to serve.” Lisa also volunteers at the Englewood community clinic and spends much time providing nursing services to the community.
“The nurse education navigator spent time with me and suggested several masters and doctoral programs which I investigated. The University of South Florida adult acute nurse practitioner program seems the best bet for me. With the help of my family, SNAC, Sarasota Memorial, my co-workers and those wonderful scholarship and tuition assistance dollars, I will be Lisa Smith RN, ARNP. You can do it if I can!”
So why do I want to become a Family Nurse Practitioner when I’m already in my fifties?
I grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas. Neither of my parents had gone to college, but they were determined that we should. I started my career as a pharmacy assistant in high school. I discovered my interest in nursing and then went on to become a certified nursing assistant, LPN, and finally I put myself through an associate degree program to become a registered nurse. My first love was labor and delivery but I soon transitioned to NICU. After several years of experience I was able to become certified as an ECMO specialist (heart and lung bypass) for our critically ill neonatal patients. I had been working on my prerequisites for my BSN but life began to intervene and I stepped back to part-time NICU as we began our family.
Twenty years and four sons later I decided it was time to fulfill my educational goals! I started back to State College of Florida and in December 2015 I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I’m currently working in the Sarasota County mobile medical unit and enjoying this new experience. But my love of family nursing is propelling me on. So October 2016 finds me enrolled at the University of South Florida in their prestigious MSN program with the goal of becoming a family nurse practitioner. I couldn’t be happier! This is truly a dream come true.
My husband Jeff and I are blessed! Two of our sons are currently enrolled at the University of Florida in engineering. Our third son is a Senior at Riverview High IB and he is considering premed. Our youngest son is in middle school and he is looking forward to high school next year. Our sons’ see me back in school and I think it helps impress the importance of hard work, persistence and pursuing goals in life.
So why do I want to become a family nurse practitioner when I’m already in my fifties? It’s very simple. I have a lot of learning, living and caring to do. There’s a high chance that I will go on for my DNP because I truly love learning. And I’m convinced that working and doing what you love keeps your mind and body in optimal shape as you age.
This true life success story belongs to Lynne Streitmatter RN BSN. A mature and experienced nurse who decided it was time to complete the goals she set for herself many years ago. It’s a truly inspiring story. And it can be your story too. Contact the nurse education navigator today and let’s just get on with it! Do something today that your future self will thank you for tomorrow.
“Two years ago, the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) implemented a strategy to propel its objective to increase the number and percentage of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree nurses in the area. SNAC is following the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) blueprint for change defined in its landmark report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.” The report recommends that 80% of nurses have a BSN or higher degree. This region has 33% BSNs. Nurses with higher levels of education reduce medical errors and hospital readmissions. Quite simply: with more BSNs, we have better access to better care.
SNAC’s research showed there was a need for a resource to support individuals considering a degree in nursing. SNAC created a Nursing Education Navigator (NEN) to guide, mentor, and match individuals’ needs and desires with the best programs for them considering the type of degree, accreditation, and financial assistance.
“In 2014, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced a vision of working with others to build a Culture of Health that gives everyone in America an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life they can.
Nearly two years later, a special issue of Health Affairs features early findings from research on key factors that contribute to a Culture of Health, such as the interconnection of health and social issues; the link between population well-being and life expectancy; and collaboration across the many different sectors which play a critical role in achieving better health for all.
Writes Health Affairs Editor Alan Weil: “If there is one notion that captures what is needed to create a Culture of Health, it is that existing boundary lines must be crossed. Whether it is the public and private sector, the health and social sectors, or the silos that exist within the health …” Continue Reading Here
“The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC), a local coalition of employers, academics and community leaders, has taken bold steps to help boost the number of qualified nursing instructors in the Suncoast region (Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee and Desoto counties) and address the continuing nursing shortage. SNAC is addressing clinical care needs of this area because nursing schools, both here and across the country, are facing serious staffing shortages.
“Nursing students are being turned away from understaffed nursing schools at a time when more nurses than ever are needed in hospital and community care settings,” said Jan Mauck, Chief Nursing Officer at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and co-chair of SNAC. “By investing in nurses’ post-graduate education, we hope more nurses will become prepared to fill those critical faculty roles.”
SNAC has developed two scholarship programs: the first provides financial support for current nursing faculty in the region pursuing doctoral degrees in nursing. Candidates for the doctoral scholarship … ” Continue Reading Here
The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition announces a Fall 2016 scholarship program for individuals pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. This scholarship provides financial support for current BSN candidates in the SNAC Region (Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, & Desoto Counties). The goal is to increase the number of bachelor’s prepared nurses who are working within the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) region. The amount awarded per person may vary and is at the discretion of the SNAC selection committee. Award amounts will be based on individual need as determined by documented sources of support (e.g. scholarships, grants) with a minimum award amount of $2,500.
The community-funded SNAC scholarships are among many statewide initiatives that followed a landmark Institute of Medicine report published in 2010, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which recommended doubling the number of nurses with doctorates in the United States by the year 2020, and other actions to ensure nurses are well positioned to lead change and advance health. The SNAC BSN Scholarship application, which has an application deadline of October 15, 2016, can be downloaded from the website at http://snac4fl.org/resources/scholarships-and-grants.
SNAC is a regional pilot project created by the Florida Action Coalition to develop resources and help implement recommendations from the 2010 Institute of Medicine report: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. SNAC is made up of representatives from health systems, colleges and universities training nurses and community members in a 4-county region (Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte).
To help address the needs in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Desoto counties, SNAC offers information, referrals and support to individuals interested in a nursing career or current nurses who want to enroll in advanced degree programs. To reach SNAC’s nurse navigator, call (941) 780-1447 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come on over to Manatee Memorial 9/28 and find out how these 10 Colleges and Universities of Nursing can further your career. Learn from the expertise of representatives and your Nurse Education Navigator as you investigate all your options. The perfect fit is waiting for your decision to move ahead. Do something today that your future self will thank you for tomorrow!
Manatee Memorial Hospital Date: Wednesday, September 28th Time: 7:30 am – 2:00pm Location: Auditorium, 206 Second Street East
Bradenton, FL 34208
University of Phoenix
Chamberlin College of Nursing
St. Pete College
State College of Florida
St. Leo University
Western Governors University
University of South Florida
Meet with representatives from the above schools as well as the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition to find the degree program and career path right for you!