Elise Shankle is an elementary school nurse for Fort Worth Independent School District. She is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing to be able to better help her community.

(Photo Courtesy of Elise Shankle)

(Photo Courtesy of Elise Shankle)

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Why are you pursuing a master’s degree?

“I decided to pursue a master’s degree in nursing because I saw the need of health promotion and disease prevention in my community. By becoming a nurse practitioner and having an increase scope of practice in my nursing career, I believe I will be able to provide affordable, accessible, quality care for patients in need. I believe nurse practitioners are one of the answers to the shortage of primary care practitioners. By receiving my master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner I will be able to reduce and possibly eliminate many preventable diseases in my community.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree? 

“I would tell the person to develop a strong support system. There will be many times you will need someone to lean on and encourage you in this long, but rewarding journey. By having a support system you will find the courage and perseverance you need to complete your goal. The central concept of nursing is caring for others, and sometimes as nurses we tend to take better care of others, and do not properly care for ourselves, but having a support system to care for you in those challenging times will help you achieve your goal of receiving your master’s degree.”

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What has been the biggest challenge you have faced while pursuing your master’s degree? 

“The biggest challenge I have faced while pursuing my master’s degree is finding a good balance between family, school and work.  Making time for personal life as well as work and school can be challenging, but it is achievable. This is why it is imperative to have a great support system while pursuing your master’s degree. ”

Why not on campus instead of online?

“I chose the online course of study, because it allowed me to work a 40-hour a week job. I can still come home and spend time with my husband and daughter before their bedtime’s, and afterwards I can review my coursework through its recorded lectures, read text books, as well as complete the required course work at my own pace and schedule. It would have been more difficult to have to drive to a college campus, arrange childcare options and adjust my work schedule to meet the needs of a traditional class setting. I can access my course work and student emails through my smart phone at anytime, which has proven to be very beneficial to my success in the program.”

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her apprciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com