The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recently included a true “Dreams Made Real” story on the “Highlighting Recent Graduates” feature of its website (Highlighting Recent GNSA Graduates
Naturally, the story in question concerns a graduate of the Clayton State University Master of Science in Nursing program, Colleen Walters. Having graduated from the Clayton State MSN program in May 2014, Walters has now taken the next step in her dream; she’s a new faculty member in the Clayton State School of Nursing, thanks to the empowerment and support of the Clayton State College of Health, and a unique experiential learning opportunity in Guadalajara, Mexico.
This is her story…
“In May 2014, I graduated with a master’s in nursing education from Clayton State University as a Georgia Board of Regents grant recipient to increase the number of nurse educators in the state of Georgia.
“I was given this tremendous opportunity by Dr. Lisa Eichelberger, the dean of the College of Health at Clayton State, who `saw something’ in me that would make a great nurse educator. It was also the dean’s way of giving back what had been invested in her as a young nurse who was given a similar opportunity to teach. She changed the trajectory of my nursing career and helped me to define my niche in nursing.
“In addition, I was mentored along the way by other exemplary nurse educators at Clayton State. Dr. Jennell Charles served as a role model of nursing excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship. Not only was Dr. Charles my mentor, but also my close friend. Dr. Lynn Stover, MSN instructor and practicum coordinator, guided and supported me during the practicum portion of the program. Dr. Victoria Foster and instructor Alicia Collins were always encouraging me to press forward. The MSN degree awarded is largely the effort of these great instructors who would never give up on me.
“The quality of education I received was unparalleled. I had the unique opportunity to study and work as a clinical instructor simultaneously. Therefore, I quickly developed in skill and knowledge of nursing education while serving baccalaureate students. I was exposed to issues in nursing education at the state and national level, and even participated in the AACN Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., in March 2014.
“I was also given the opportunity to complete a service learning study abroad program in Guadalajara, Mexico in May 2014. My thesis examined the impact of study abroad experiences and the level of learning that takes place.
“I feel that the MSN program at Clayton State was a rich experience, which has thoroughly prepared me for a bright future as a nurse educator. I strongly desire to inspire my students to serve, love learning, and lead, in order to be the nurse that can make a difference in the nation’s health, one patient at a time.”