Whenever contemplating a major life change, I find that talking to friends, family and advisors who have made similar decisions gives me the best perspective. Those who have been in similar situations offer advice on what to expect and how to prepare for what is to come. So today, Alyssa McClurg, an FNP student at Simmons College is here to give some insight into her life as a nurse practitioner student for those considering starting their NP education.
Alyssa McClurg is a Colorado resident who currently works as a public health nurse and is a student enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program offered by Nursing@Simmons. In her role as a public health nurse, she works directly with low-income, first-time mothers to provide primary and preventative care. Before becoming a nurse, Alyssa spent some time working as an inner-city school teacher in Memphis, Tennessee.
Alyssa, what made you want to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner?
I love to help my clients help themselves because I believe collaborating with those I serve, rather than issuing directives, will result in lasting change. I believe in honoring the life expertise a patient possesses and using that expertise in conjunction with sound health assessment and motivated interviewing to find answers and solve problems. Including the patient as a subject matter expert and part of the care team takes into account the current condition and what led to this state. It also creates an increased ability to anticipate and plan for multiple potential outcomes.
By becoming a family nurse practitioner through Nursing@Simmons, the online Master of Science in Nursing program from Simmons College, I can become part of the solution for health care accessibility. Skills honed to an advanced level of proficiency coupled with past experience will allow me to create a holistic practice to care for people our society does not always understand. As a team, the patient and I can work together to optimize and maintain health goals.
What has been the most challenging part of your nurse practitioner program so far?
Learning a new balance of work, family and school has been challenging. It’s not impossible, though, and I am impressed and grateful that the Simmons community acknowledges that life outside of school does not stop when the semester starts.
I enjoy the live sessions. The opportunity to interact in a live setting with professors and fellow students is what interested me the most about the Nursing@Simmons program. Having access to recorded live sessions and the ability to watch lectures multiple times helps with understanding complex material. I also love that all of my professors currently practice in addition to teaching. They provide rich, real-world examples related to our coursework.
Do you feel that you will be prepared to practice when you graduate?
I absolutely believe I will be a well-prepared family nurse practitioner when I graduate. The coursework and expectations are intense, though I would not call them unreasonable. I would want my own nurse practitioner or one caring for a family member to go through the same academic rigor I am experiencing with Nursing@Simmons.
What advice do you have for students considering enrolling in a nurse practitioner program?
Spend at least a couple of hours each day of every week preparing and reviewing course materials. Cramming will not cut it. Besides, who wants to be cared for by a family nurse practitioner who crammed for all her tests?
A big “Thank You” to Alyssa for answering our pressing questions about the life of a nurse practitioner student.
Thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner? What questions do you have about the NP education?
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