At age 12, Jennifer Bradley was already envisioning herself at work in a hospital. In those days, her younger sister was her patient, and Jennifer was the nurse. Rather than blood, they had ketchup, and Jennifer regularly prescribed LifeSavers to her sister as medicine. As she got older, she never lost interest in healthcare.
“I knew that I would eventually choose nursing as my profession. After all, it had already chosen me years ago,” she says.
Today, Jennifer is a student at South University, Online Programs and is pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization. “This degree will allow me to do something that I’m passionate about—pursue a career in preventative care. It will also show my children that hard work and dedication can pay off,” she says.
The Right Mix of Support, Hard Work and Confidence
Jennifer’s journey with South University began when she received a call from an Admissions Representative, Leane Borden, who spoke with her about the nurse practitioner programs. At first, Jennifer was hesitant about committing to going back to school, but eventually decided it was the right choice for her career.
“Leane was very understanding and was right there throughout the whole admissions process. She was always available, and did her best to answer every question I had. I felt at ease speaking to her,” Jennifer says.
However, before her first class, Jennifer still had a few lingering concerns about online learning. “I was afraid that the resources wouldn’t be there when I needed them. But I’ve learned a lot, and I feel as if my knowledge base has really grown,” she says, adding “My professors are always available if I have questions or concerns, and there is a library and digital books that I can utilize any time.”
Between school, work, and family, Jennifer has a lot to juggle but she has developed strategies that help her to manage her schedule and do well in her courses. “I take study materials with me to clinical and work. During my lunch or down time, I study what we’ve gone over in school or what I saw in clinical that day,” she explains. Plus, she always checks her upcoming assignments a week early just to get an idea of what they involve.
Along the way toward her degree, Jennifer has had a lot of support from South University staff and instructors, but her biggest supporter was always her younger sister, who passed away earlier this year. “When it seemed like it was getting the best of me—working two jobs, school and raising my sons—she’d remind me of the reward at the end of the journey,” Jennifer says. “She’s always had more faith and confidence in me than I ever did in myself. When she left me, I didn’t think I could do it. I just didn’t want to take this journey without her. But I decided to use the confidence she had in me to motivate me to complete this program. When I feel like giving up, I can almost hear her voice: ‘You can do it, Jennifer.’
Now, with every day, Jennifer gets closer to earning her degree and building the career that she first started dreaming about as a child. And, like her sister, we too believe that with her continued work ethic and motivation, she can do this.
In honor of National Nurse Practitioner Week, taking place from November 9-15, 2014, South University is excited to share the success stories of students like Jennifer. We'd also like to recognize and thank the more than 192,000 Nurse Practitioners working in the US for all the important work they do!