One of the scariest things a parent could deal with is a child with a heart condition.  As the Senior Director of the Heart Center at Children’s Health Dallas, Darcy Wessinger works to facilitate good health for Dallas’ youngest residents. Wessinger earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a master’s degree in nursing with an administrative focus from Regis University in Denver.

(Photo Courtesy of Darcy Wessinger)

(Photo Courtesy of Darcy Wessinger)

Wessinger was born with a heart condition.  At the age of four, she underwent an open heart surgery. When she earned her bachelor’s degree and started working in pediatric ICU, her father said to her, “Never underestimate the role you play and its importance to the parents of the child you are taking care of. Nothing in this world brought me to my knees the way it did when I had to hand you over to a nurse who took you into surgery.” Wessinger said, “I realized that he and my mom felt completely powerless and they were trusting that nurse to take care of me and be their surrogate when they couldn’t be there. Parents trust us with their children every day. I tell my staff that we are holding a parent’s most precious gift. I come to this from the point of being a child that was entrusted to the care of nurses for a heart condition,” said Wessinger.

Why did you pursue your master’s degree?

“I was working at The Children’s Hospital in Colorado at the time and had just started my first leadership position. I knew I wanted to stay in leadership, and furthering my career meant achieving a graduate degree in nursing administration.”

What would you tell others who are considering pursuing a master’s degree?

“I would tell others pursuing a master’s degree to stay focused. It may seem like an enormous challenge, but it will go by quickly, and it will definitely pay off in the end.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced while pursuing your master’s degree?

“I worked full-time and had young children while pursuing my degree. I think this is common for many women working to further their careers. Balancing family and work is difficult enough, but put school in the mix and something has to give. I believe the sacrifices I made then are worth it now. My children know I have accomplished what I have through hard work. I’m the only one who remembers missing out on certain things. They don’t, and I am thankful for that.”

What was the biggest reward for earning your master’s degree?

“Honestly, the biggest reward was the sense of accomplishment I had when it was completed. I am the only one in my family to go on the graduate school and finish. I know I can handle tough challenges, both professional and personal, because of how I was able to successfully achieve this goal I set for myself.”

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation 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