Creating a Rewarding Nursing Career with a Mix of Experience and Education

By Kadriyya Clark, RN, DNP, faculty member, RN to BSN Program at American Public University

I have always been inspired to help people, particularly the elderly population. After working in a retirement community I began my nursing career as a patient care technician which helped inspire me to become a Registered Nurse.

After high school I attended Catonsville Community College in Maryland where I earned my A.S. in Nursing. I knew that I wanted to continue my education because my mentor told me that it would make me a better nurse, and I went on to earn my BSN from College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

After four years of experience in critical care, I thought I wanted to be a nurse anesthetist until I began to work in the clinical setting with nursing students. Working with students helped me contribute to the nursing profession while helping them achieve similar goals. I went on to earn my M.S. in Nursing from Towson University in Maryland and DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) from University of Maryland at Baltimore.

I have been a nurse for 13 years, most of which has been in critical care areas. My clinical background includes Emergency department, Intensive Care, Open Heart Surgery, Telemetry, Intermediate Care Unit, Interventional Radiology, Infusion Center, and Outpatient Oncology. I currently still practice as a bedside nurse in Maryland because I love it so much!

I have taught nursing education for seven years in Maryland in both graduate and undergraduate programs, face- to- face and online. I enjoy facilitating the growth of the profession and future colleagues.

Over the years I have served in various student advisement roles, with the most recent being faculty advisor for the student nurses association. As the advisor I developed mentoring relationships with students and gave them guidance on both professional and personal matters. As a student it is often difficult to balance the requirements of life and school. As a longtime student myself, I have experience in having to balance life and school for long periods of time.

Reflecting back on my career, each degree has contributed not only to my knowledge, but my practice as a nurse and faculty member. The inquisitive nature in me wanted to know more about how to be the best nurse and faculty member. I think that each educational milestone marked a new opportunity in my nursing career.

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