Student Spotlight: Joseph Rawls

Florida resident Joseph Rawls (G’14) earned his BSN in 1998 from Florida State University and is currently enrolled part time in our Family Nurse Practitioner program. In our latest Student Spotlight, he talks about how he’s been able to apply what he’s learning in the classroom to his current job and the importance of work-school-life balance.

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

I chose to pursue my Master’s for many reasons. First, I wanted to grow personally and professionally. Secondly, I want to make the world a better place and believe I can do this best via advanced practice. Most importantly, I want to be a role model to my two daughters and give them the best opportunities in life.

Why did you want to pursue this particular specialty?

I feel like family practice is the broadest field of study in advanced nursing. I want to care for all members in the family, holistically, in all stages of life. I believe family practice is the most well-rounded field of study for my goals.

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

My advice to someone starting this career path is to plan, stay disciplined, make time for yourself/family, and never give up.

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

I have enjoyed the 2GU system, and feel like it gives the Georgetown University student a unique edge in learning compared to other online programs. I have always loved the classroom environment, and was skeptical of the system at first. It turned out to be better than I ever imagined. No parking troubles and no lost time driving to school is a huge plus.

I learn best through lectures, and 2GU allows me to pause, rewind, and re-watch lectures/classes/presentations. That technology is something I could not do in the traditional live classroom, yet I still get the live classroom experience each week through our synchronized classes.

Do you have an example you can share of a time when you were able to apply something you’d learned in class to your current job?

I brought something from class to my job almost every day. I would quiz my co-workers to solidify my learning, and help advance their practice. Working triage, I would find and prioritize the newborn in the waiting room with pyloric stenosis in the sea of patients waiting to be seen; I’m not sure I would have recognized it prior to my advanced training.

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

The one skill every nurse must possess, no matter what stage of the career, is the desire to help the individual patient maximize his or her ability to fully flourish as a human in any given stage of life. If that is the nurse’s true passion, they will do whatever it takes to be the best practitioner they can be to fulfill that goal.

Do you currently work part or full time?

I am a single father of two beautiful daughters, and I worked full time in the emergency room for the first 20 months of my program. I resigned the ER job for the last two terms to fully focus on my advanced studies.

In what states have you practiced?

I have practiced exclusively in the state of Florida.

In what departments have you worked?

I have worked in the emergency department, medical/surgical, immunology, telemetry, and inpatient hepatology/dermatology with the University of Miami.

How old are you?

I am 36 years young.

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been in nursing for 15 years.

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

I have used many techniques to create a healthy work-school-parenting-life balance. Exercise is key; you must make the time because it is essential to stay sane and healthy. I vacation every break between terms: I take my tent, girls, tunes, and dog to the beach where we can hit the reset button for a week.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Simultaneously working full time, clinical, classes, raising my girls, maintaining my home, and normal life challenges is the toughest adventure I have ever taken in my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Go for it.

We invite you to learn more about the Nursing@Georgetown program, or call our admissions team at 1-877-910-HOYA (4692).