Student Spotlight: Jackie Anderson

Northern California resident Jackie Anderson (G’14) earned her BSN in 2011 from Sonoma State University and is currently enrolled full time in our Family Nurse Practitioner program. In our latest Student Spotlight, she talks about how she’s been able to apply what she’s learning in the classroom to her current job and the importance of work-school-life balance.

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?

Circumstances, open doors, timing, and dreams all came together, directing me to return to school to be equipped for “next.” After practicing in acute care for 15 years, my family and I moved to rural Nigeria. My husband and I worked there for six years. I was a social worker, teacher, nurse, and mom. The NGO we worked for was successful, and we returned to the states in 2008.

I was not sure what was next in my career, so I took some time to focus on my children. It just worked for me to return for my BSN locally and be available to my teenagers. Eventually, I took a job in a management position in extended care. Circumstances added another child to our family making me a mom of five. I needed to be back at home, and it worked to continue with school online.

Why did you want to pursue this particular specialty?

My life’s mantra has always been “health and hope.” The world is big, and I desire to work globally again in the future. As an FNP, I can effectively work among generations. Family is where life happens. I desire to equip families to live well together.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting in this career path?

If you have an inkling, a twinge, a glimmer, a dream, go for it. Nothing good comes easy. Out of easy comes nothing good. Be diligent in the equipping today and inspired by the possibilities of tomorrow.

What has your experience been with the Learning Management System (2GU)?

As an “older” student, I love the technology. There are no limitations. The whole world is accessible and in the 2GU classroom we connect. It is authentic. It is rich. There is flexibility in preparation. The faculty in the asynch lectures are excellent. 2GU is efficient and effective.

What is one skill you believe every nurse should possess, no matter what stage in his or her career?

Be attentive. Be aware of people, the big picture, and the details. Be present and involved where you are. Always be a learner.

Do you currently work part or full time?

I am not working currently in order to focus on school and manage family well.

In what states have you practiced?

I have worked in California for 13 years, Nebraska one year and Jos, Nigeria, six years.

In what departments have you worked?

I have worked in step-down cardiac, ICU/CCU, and a rural bush clinic with orphans and widows.

How old are you?

I am 47 years old.

Are you married?

I have been married 27 years.

Do you have any children?

Yes, five: one married son, 23, a college senior, 21, high-school seniors 17 and 18, and a 13-year-old foster son (who is the sibling of my two youngest). In 2014, my daughter-in-law and second son graduate with BAs, my two adopted kids graduate from high school, and I will graduate with my master’s!

How long have you been in nursing?

I graduated in 1988 with my ADN. I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was a five-year-old patient.

What are some ways you’ve been working to create a healthy work-school-life balance?

I attempt to get my studies done while my children and husband are at school/work. My husband is a great support and has taken over shopping. My kids help keep the house clean, and we rarely miss a dinner together where we all connect. We don’t do TV. I also have kept up with daily exercise. Last year, I ran my first and last marathon. Sunday we rest and focus on our church and relationships.

How does being a nurse spill into your personal life?

Whether at the gym, over the phone, sporting event, neighborhood, or church, I am the nurse. I love that people know they can approach me, and I have the ability to advocate and direct them. I have been able to accompany and advise many people through various illnesses: a seizure disorder in a friend I run with, stage IV liver cancer, recurrent pericarditis, musculoskeletal injuries, and more. I have also been able to encourage other new nurses.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I feel privileged and proud in telling people I go to Georgetown. I love the global network of 2GU and the opportunities in being connected to D.C. and the world through Georgetown.