Student Spotlight: Kara Kelly

“I believe as nurses we all have a foundation of empathy and optimism. As future FNPs, it is vital to become familiar and passionate about evidence-based outcomes and also to be well spoken role models and visible leaders for our profession.”

— Kara Kelly (G’14)

Kara Kelly (G’14), of Maryland, earned her BSN in 1995 from Cleveland State University, has a master’s of exercise physiology from the university, and also completed Ph.D. coursework in exercise physiology at The Ohio State University. She is currently enrolled part time in our Family Nurse Practitioner program.

Here, she talks about why she decided to pursue this particular concentration, and, as a mother, how to make school-work-life balance a priority.

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

I chose to pursue the master’s FNP program to provide the opportunity to be in a position to encourage families to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle and to reach their wellness goals. Obesity rates are skyrocketing, and I intend to focus on working to reverse those trends.

Why did you want to pursue this particular specialty?

My primary interest is utilizing physical activity, exercise, and healthy eating to prevent disease, and the role of the FNP is well suited for overall wellness promotion. I also want to apply health behavior theory interventions to families to help them reach their wellness goals.

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

My advice to those exploring the FNP profession is to become active within professional organizations as a leader and advocate and to use their passion and special interests related to health as they progress their career. FNPs are in a fantastic situation to make a huge impact on primary care with the emerging changes within health care in the U.S. Remember, becoming an advanced practice nurse is a journey, and the skill will develop slowly over time. As a student, focus on small little goals by breaking the program into segments mentally, and it will add up to a big accomplishment!

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

The Learning Management System is flexible for my schedule, and has allowed me to advance my education at Georgetown while balancing being a mother and student. I am able to use my iPhone, iPad, and laptop to stay on top of my assignments from any location, and I also have developed a strong network of colleagues within study groups that have been instrumental to my success.

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

I believe as nurses we all have a foundation of empathy and optimism. As future FNPs, it is vital to become familiar and passionate about evidence-based outcomes and also to be well spoken role models and visible leaders for our profession.

Do you currently work part or full time?

I have two children (three and five years old), and I also work part time for a marathon running related company that I started several years ago. I chose not to work as a nurse during the program so that I could balance everything in my life well.

In what states have you practiced?

I have practiced as a nurse in Ohio and recently transferred my license to Maryland since relocating.

In what departments have you worked?

I have worked in a school setting, outpatient surgery setting, taught at both the community college and four-year collegiate level, and cardiac rehab.

How old are you?

I am 43 years young.

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been in nursing since 1995.

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

Balance is vital for me. I am a competitive endurance athlete in both running and triathlons and make time to work toward those goals, which also helps my stress level and overall well-being. I also eat a healthy vegetarian diet and try to keep on my sleep, too. I spend a lot of time with my children and enjoy being able to be flexible with coursework.

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 recently was able to take the foundation of a paper that I wrote for the evidence-based practice course and implement it. I had all patients I saw at clinical screened for Body Mass Index and given proper educational counseling related to Healthy People 2020 objectives for weight management, which was very rewarding. I encourage students to take advantage of papers and projects within the program that they can then transcend into practice.

Anything else you’d like to share?

If you believe it, you can achieve it! Dream big!

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