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SNAC Success Story: Lisa Smith’s Journey to Her MSN APN

Lisa’s hair: soon going to Wigs for Kids

“Yes Kate, I do want to complete my BSN, but I want to become a nurse practitioner.” That’s exactly what Lisa Smith said to me back in December 2016. Lisa was then working at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She had experienced a few years of illnesses and was no longer able to continue working in her beloved emergency and intensive care settings. So, Lisa picked herself up and went back to school to complete her Bachelor of Science in nursing at State College of Florida. You can read more about her story at that time on our SNAC website. Modeling a way to success from December of 2016 click here.

Complete her MSN in adult nurse practitioner is exactly what she did. Choosing a school was complex and sometimes frustrating and she finally decided on Kaplan university. Kaplan was subsequently purchased by Purdue and is now Purdue University Global. 

Lisa was full of excitement at her recent graduation when we met for lunch in early October. “I didn’t even dream I could learn so much!” Lisa was truly thankful and in awe of the Physicians and other nurse practitioners who shared their knowledge with her over the last two and a half years. “I really must give compliments and much credit to my advisor Monica Nino, and two inspirational professors, Racelia Austin, and Susan Brennan who helped me throughout the program. “

Finding clinical placements for preceptorships can be a difficult task and Lisa provides the advice that you need to” go and meet them face to face; it makes a huge difference’. Commuting to Kendall Medical Center in Miami for women’s health and later to a family practice in Daytona gave her the hours and experience she required. “The courses and clinical were rigorous and the commitment needed is substantive, but I’m so glad I did it!” Lisa was also the main impetus for Purdue University Global to create a policy that Purdue will now actively help students obtain clinical preceptorships. A major investment for the University and a major help for all future students who will benefit from Lisa’s journey.

Right now, Lisa has 2 goals 1) studying for national certification for advance practice nurse examination which she plans to seek and the next couple of months. And 2) “I haven’t cut my hair since I began graduate school and I plan to cut it as a donation for children to an organization who does not charge for their services in providing wigs to children in need. The organization Wigs for Kids, donates their time and services specifically for children. I enjoy giving back and strive to continue efforts through pay it forward actions.” Lisa continues to volunteer part-time in the Englewood Community Clinic and provides modeling services for bridal gowns, just like she was doing back in 2016. The picture with this article was taken for the Charlotte County Bridal Expo in September 2019. That beautiful long hair will soon become a wig for a child.

After that? “I want to do my DNP!” She is currently looking at Doctoral programs and right now South University is intriguing. Time will tell which University she chooses but I do not doubt that she will achieve success. This is one solidly determined woman.

Congratulations Lisa Smith. We at the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition could not be prouder of you.