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Nurse, Patient Advocate Pursues MSN, New Calling as Educator

Sherry Holman

After spending 23 years in the nursing field, many practitioners begin to eye the possibility of retirement. That’s not the case for Jacksonville University online student Sherry Holman of Georgia.

Rather than wind down after decades of caring for others, the experienced RN wants to take it up a notch by helping others become nurses. After completing her MSN Clinical Nurse Educator degree online, Holman hopes to lead her own classroom, sharing her knowledge and desire to give voice to the voiceless.

“While growing up, I saw so many people in my community in need of healthcare who either did not have the courage to speak or the literacy level to know what to speak,” she said.

Now, the same ambition that led Holman to a career in nursing still drives her: advocating for others.

“The time that I have spent in my nursing career has been very rewarding and gratifying,” said the mother of three grown children. “I believe that most of my drive and motivation to pursue nursing came as a result of my desire to help others and influence health outcomes for others.”

Holman spent the past 20 years working for the Georgia Department of Public Health at the District Child Health Department. She began her career as a staff nurse then transitioned into a registered nurse specialist position. She’s worked as a Children 1st Coordinator for the past nine years.

“What I love the most about nursing, especially in my current job, is the opportunity to provide one-on-one with patients and their families,” she said. “Also, I love the fact that nursing offers unlimited career opportunities.”

It’s those unlimited opportunities that motivated her to return to class herself, advancing her current BSN degree with an eye toward someday leading a classroom of her own. She’d like to use her master’s degree to work at either a college or vocational school where she would be empowered to help new nurses on their journey into the field.

Though she will miss direct patient interaction, the draw of teaching is too strong to resist, she said.

“I believe that in the classroom I can better influence healthcare by positively impacting nurses and equipping them to not only provide good nursing care but also to be that advocating voice for patients who cannot speak, do not have the education level to know what to speak, or just do not have the courage to speak.”

Jacksonville University’s online master’s degree program opened the door for Holman to pursue her teaching dreams: She’s already accepted a nursing faculty position at Darton State College, she said.

Holman said the one-on-one focus Jacksonville University provides its students laid the foundation for her success.

“Unlike what I experienced when I first started my graduate degree at another university, the JU experience was an easier transition,” she said. “I believe what made it successful was the mentors that are assigned to assist students as they progress to their educational goals.”

Holman has advice for those considering the nursing field:

“Be persistent,” she said. “In other words, you must be willing to do the hard work that others are not willing to do on a consistent basis.”

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