November 20, 2017 was the first interaction between Sue Zawacki RN BSN and the SNAC Nurse Education Navigator. Sue, a professional registered nurse for decades, was interested in going back to graduate school to obtain her masters degree. We discussed her goals and a variety of programs which might be a good fit. She investigated her options and decided the time was right for her to forge ahead to achieve the dream she had for years. Fast forward to August 8, 2020 : Sue graduates with her master of science in nursing leadership from the University of West Florida. GPA 4.0 !
The combination of desire and the right moment in life can lead to marvelous outcomes.
When I made the decision to go back to school my youngest son asked “ Are you going through a midlife crisis?” All three of my boys became really big supporters. Everyone was on board for her. As a clinical vice president for Tidewell Hospice, Sue soon found that both coworkers and her boss were incredibly supportive. “I found that in every single class, I could use what I was learning at work.”
“I was far from the normal traditional student, but I had thought about it for years and I finally decided to just do it. It was an amazing learning experience. You don’t realize what you don’t know till you do it. Everything I do now is different after being in a research-based program. I think differently, I write differently, and I talk differently. The impact is profound.”
“The curriculum is thorough and well organized and I appreciated the structure and deadlines of the various courses. The University of West Florida is set up for you to be successful. I feel like I’m never going to be as busy as I was during graduate school, but I learned an incredible amount and highly recommend this program to BSN RNs who are looking to go back to school. It takes a ton of work and a huge commitment but there is no doubt that everyone is working full-time and most of my cohort students are actually frontline bedside nurses.”
“I was fortunate to receive scholarships from the Charlotte Community Foundation which helped tremendously with tuition. The scholarship required that I participate in care with the Virginia B Andes Volunteer free clinic. What a humbling experience to serve the underserved. I had lived in Charlotte County for 25 years as a resident and professional nurse and yet did not understand the needs of these people. I decided to stay on as a volunteer there after completing the required hours for my scholarship.”
Sue’s future plans include publishing the work she is currently doing with a task force to implement shared governance in a Hospice setting. “Shared governance is common in Magnet hospitals but almost unheard of in Hospice, so this is an exciting opportunity to share that process with the nursing community. I am also precepting a coworker who is now in the practicum for her leadership capstone project. I just love that front line nurses are interested in advancing their degree and Tidewell Hospice is incredibly supportive.”
So what are the 2 takeaways from the Sue Zawacki success story that can be meaningful to you?
Sue: “I do believe that if you care passionately you can do it!”
NEN: The combination of desire and the right moment in life can lead to marvelous outcomes.
Contact SNAC’s Nurse Education Navigator today and get your dreams going!
This year the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program has allocated up to $5 million for applicants working as women’s health nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse midwives, or certified RNs in obstetrics and gynecology.
The application cycle closes on February 25.
Join the webinar to learn about loan repayment assistance for nurses specializing in women’s health.
“Don’t let anything stop you! Find the support you need and don’t delay the decision because you think you’re too busy. If it’s important to you, then just do it and don’t listen to the naysayers.”
In this SNAC Success Story, Dorothy Neufeld, Associate Professor of Nursing, is looking back on her experience of completing a doctorate of nursing practice from Duquesne University while simultaneously teaching full-time in the associate degree program at State College of Florida.
“It was helpful for me to be a student at the same time I was a teacher! Everything I encountered to complete my doctorate was happening to my students during the Covid crisis. It was affecting me similarly to them and those parallels have helped me to understand the difficulties for all types of students during this strange year. It was an emotionally tough year. During the daytime while I was teaching I have to be strong and supportive to my students who are very concerned about not being able to graduate on time or even at all! And then in the night time, when I was online completing my doctoral courses, I found I needed the same support from my nursing faculty.”
“Pick a good university that has a philosophy similar to yours. One of the reasons I chose Duquesne is that it allowed me to study abroad and I wanted that experience. I was able to go to Rome and other places in Italy and Sicily to compare and contrast our healthcare systems.We experienced outreach to the refugees and the homeless and elderly as well as acute care hospitals within Palermo and Rome. It’s amazing to go into a building built in the 1500s that is currently serving as an acute care hospital.”
“The most important way I am using my doctoral education as I teach now is to incorporate evidence-based practice and research into all of the content. I teach medical surgical and pediatric contact for the second year students in the associate degree nursing program at state college of Florida.”
“Nursing Faculty has had to become very creative and innovative during this COVID time of necessary alternatives for education.”
SNAC is pleased to have awarded Dorothy a Doctoral scholarship to complete her Doctoral degree. Seven local Nursing faculty have now received assistance for graduate school from SNAC funders.
Nurse Corps LRP offers funding to registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nursing faculty for payment of their qualifying educational loans. In exchange, recipients honor a two-year service commitment at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses or an eligible school of nursing in the case of nurse faculty. Additional loan repayment is available for a third year of service.
This year, Nurse Corps LRP has set aside special funding for nurses and nurse faculty who specialize in women’s and behavioral health:
Up to $5 million has been allocated for applicants working as women’s health nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse midwives, or certified RNs in obstetrics and gynecology.
Up to 50 percent of the remaining available funds has been allocated for NPs and up to 10 percent for nurse faculty. Of the 50 percent allocated for NPs, up to 20 percent is available for psychiatric NPs.