Ask a MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate: Mandy Wells
While a student in Chamberlain’s MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track, Mandy Wells was super busy – juggling work, school, family, church and community commitments. She worried that she wasn’t spending enough time with her four children.
Then, her 10-year-old daughter’s teacher called.
“She said that they had an assignment to pick somebody from history that they looked up to that was a hero,” she said. “My daughter had brought her poster back and she had took pictures of me in my nursing uniform. She said, 'My mom is a hero every day because she's a nurse.' That… makes it all worth it.”
Wells, who is also a graduate of the RN to BSN Online Option at Chamberlain, recently shared her experiences in the MSN-FNP specialty track – from how she overcame her fear of Immersion Weekend, to preparing for boards, to the lifelong relationships she has formed. Read on for more:
How would you describe online learning at Chamberlain?
The curriculum at Chamberlain works really well. You have to login and interact with other students, which is a great base and a good foundation for nursing. You actually get to see how other nurses would treat their patients. Coming from different backgrounds, it may not be the same way you would treat your patient and that doesn't mean that it's wrong. It gives you other options. You may decide to treat people differently in the same area just because of something you learned. It opens your mind to other things because you're all there for the same reason, to treat patients. It gives you a big learning base – you're in class with people from all over the country.
With four kids at home, how did you balance it all?
I have an awesome husband, I have a really good family and I have a good church family. They all stepped in and took the kids so that I could study. They took over the house duties – my husband washed clothes, he made dinner even if it was bologna sandwiches and we all just worked together as a team and made it happen. That's how it worked – we worked as a team.
How did you feel going to Immersion Weekend?
Going into Immersion Weekend, I was terrified. I was worried that maybe I didn't have the skillset that I needed to have. After coming and being with hundreds of other students who felt exactly the same way I did, it made me feel a little bit better to realize that I wasn't the only one and that we were all in it for the same reason.
Our instructors made us feel like we were there because we weren't supposed to know it all just yet and that's why we were there. They taught us and we laughed together and we ate together and we formed relationships. And they were relationships that have carried on for the last couple of years. When I got out of school in March and started studying for boards, I had students and teachers that I could email or call if I had questions or if I was just nervous. I could say, 'this is what I'm worried about' and they could tell me how they’re dealing with it. I'll always have a nursing friend now that I can shoot an email or a text message to and say, 'Quick, what's the answer to this?' Or 'I need your help with this.'
Did you feel that you had the support you needed from Chamberlain?
Chamberlain was very supportive throughout the whole experience of school. When you look at going to school, it's a big responsibility especially when you're doing adult learning and it costs a lot of money. You want to make sure that you have good backup and communication and that you have people who are going to be there for you and are going to be reliable. And Chamberlain is all of that. You don't have to be afraid that you won't have someone to rely on if you have a question. You can always call in and you talk to a person. You email and get a response back from them immediately. You always have your fellow students. Online learning is wonderful because you get feedback daily and you get to interact with the other students.
How did you prepare for your state boards?
After you graduate from Chamberlain, you have to go in and take your state boards. That is very stressful but I used the tools I got from Chamberlain. Your last class is Capstone, and it's pretty much a review. I used that as a study tool, I did a Fitzgerald review and studied with notecards and made time to go to the library. It was a lot of study time. When I passed my boards, I felt wonderful. I was so glad that I could move on and actually start my career as a family nurse practitioner.
How do you feel now that you’ve graduated?
I work four days a week now in family practice and love it! Going back to Chamberlain and getting my degree has made me feel like my career is complete. Not that I'm ready to end my career, but that I'm at a happy place. From being a little girl on, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. Once I did nursing for a couple of years, I knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to transition into making people healthy and teaching them how to take care of themselves and prevention. It's wonderful when a plan comes together and you love what you do.
Do you feel like Chamberlain prepared you for practice?
Once you leave Chamberlain, you're ready to go out into the world of nursing and take care of patients. And not only treat them, but do the right thing and make sure that they are getting the best care possible.
What advice would you give to someone considering entering the MSN-FNP track?
I would encourage them to go for it. You have to be consistent and you have to be determined and you have to want it. I'd make sure they had all of those things and that they don't make excuses for themselves. It's totally doable. You have to make sure you set goals and you have to make sure you know how you're going to accomplish those goals. But you can do it. You just have to set your mind to it.
Watch more of Mandy’s story here:
Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended Chamberlain College of Nursing can be found at chamberlain.edu/ge.