BA in Government/Minor in History, The University of Texas at Austin
MHR in Human Relations/Concentration in Counseling, The University of Oklahoma
MSN in Administration in Community and Health Care Systems/Minor in Teaching, UTHSCSA
Why I became a nurse: After completing a 7-year active duty stint in the U.S. Air Force as a logistics officer, I was interested in a fresh start, preferably a new career in health care. I worked as a product manager for an orthopedic medical device firm for 6 months, then realized quickly that I'd be happier working among the nurses I met on my cross-country travels. I began the UTHSCSA SON BSN program 15 months from when I left that job. I haven't looked back - or stopped going to school - since!
What kind of nursing do I practice?
I've been an adult medical-surgical nurse since I completed my BSN, and I've worked in several hospitals/systems since. I'm certified in medical-surgical nursing and pain management. I continue to work at the bedside as a float pool staff nurse at Brooke Army Medical Center, and work occasionally as an undergraduate clinical teaching assistant while completing my PhD.
Why did I pursue my PhD? My passion for my clinical practice, especially in caring for older adults with dementia, made me realize that my experience/skills could make the greatest impact on nursing knowledge generation as a clinical nurse scientist. Plus, I was incredibly fortunate that Dr. Carrie Jo Braden, our associate dean for research, began mentoring me early in my BSN program.
What is my program of research? My program of science involves exploring the biobehavioral impact that vulnerable populations have on the health systems that serve them. My dissertation focuses on the experience of persons with dementia as health care consumers of adult day services. They make indelible contributions not only to their own care outcomes, but also to the organizational goals of the health programs in which they participate, and the communities in which they live. I'm committed to telling their stories.
What do I do in my spare time? I recently began volunteering with the Gulf Coast Center's veteran peer support group program here in Galveston, where my dissertation study is based. I have also been an on-and-off member of the Schola Cantorum (choir) at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, Texas for almost 20 years.
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