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SNAC Success Story: “I do believe that if you care passionately you can do it!” – Sue Zawacki RN BSN

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!