Sheely Lopez Brockett, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, graduated with her master’s degree from Kent State University College of Nursing’s Family Nurse Practitioner program in May 2022.
“I knew becoming a family nurse practitioner would allow me to be a leader in creating a healthier community. As a nurse, I witnessed countless occasions when a patient’s health emergency could have been prevented or treated earlier. It would also allow me to maintain a better work-life balance to spend more time with my family,” explained Brockett. “I felt physically and emotionally drained as an ICU nurse. Working through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic convinced me further to go back to school. I took the leap and went on to obtain my master’s degree in nursing.”
Brockett found Kent State’s family nurse practitioner program desirable due to its hybrid design of online and in-person coursework. She liked that the college was a brick-and-mortar school, established more than 50 years ago.
“My husband is an alumnus of Kent State’s aeronautics program and received a wonderful education. I was impressed by the atmosphere and culture whenever I visited,” she remarked. “Kent State University was a place I could see myself thriving and growing as a person. They also offered affordable, quality programs with an excellent reputation.”
Brockett emphasized it was also an advantage to be able to collaborate with her professors and clinical instructors in-person or online throughout her program. Additionally, since those individuals were familiar with northeast Ohio, they easily referred her to local resources and healthcare affiliations.
“The first half of the program was all online, so there was a lot of flexibility in completing coursework. It allowed me to continue working full-time as a registered nurse three days per week. When I started clinicals in the latter half of the program, I dropped down to a part-time position,” explained Brockett. “There were sacrifices I had to make, including saving my vacation time for an entire year to plan for upcoming clinicals and busy weeks during the semester. Furthermore, I could not have done it without my course coordinator, Louise Knox, and clinical instructor, Joscelyn Greaves. They went above and beyond to help me succeed in my program no matter what challenge I faced.”
Throughout her program, Brockett enjoyed meeting and becoming close friends with several classmates who shared a similar goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She recalled how reassuring it was to have the support of others who could relate to upcoming exams, clinicals and simulations.
Having recently passed her family nurse practitioner national certification exam, Brockett has started the process of applying for new positions. In the meantime, she continues to work as an ICU nurse where she has applied some of the lessons she learned during her program.
“The family nurse practitioner program opened my understanding of healthcare in many ways. I’ve learned the obstacles and health disparities of different patient populations are a problem. In addition, it showed me healthcare is not perfect and can be challenging for patients and providers alike, but it has come a long way,” stated Brockett. “My nurse practitioner degree empowers me to bridge the gaps in health disparities and obstacles to help create a better healthcare system, especially in underserved communities.”
Brockett would advise other nurses interested in obtaining their advanced degrees to remain focused.
“It is a long road, but it will be worth it. Save up vacation time, prepare frozen meals in advance and keep your best friends and family close,” she encouraged. “Chase your dreams! Keep pushing your limits and working toward your goals one day at a time to get your master’s degree. It will be worth it.”
Reflecting on her own journey, Brockett was filled with joy and accomplishment.
“I always had the ambition of advancing my education to have a greater impact on a healthier community. Furthermore, the feeling of personal fulfillment in completing a challenging master’s program, creating a better work-life balance for me and my family, and making my parents proud as first-generation immigrants from the Philippines, was more than enough to motivate me to pursue my master’s degree at Kent State University.”
To learn more about Kent State University College of Nursing’s master’s programs, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/36539anh
To learn more about Kent State University College of Nursing’s Family Nurse Practitioner program, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/2p8h5b62
To view the Kent State University College of Nursing Graduate Programs Guidebook, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/42ty62nm