The healthcare community recognizes the excellence of UE nursing graduates. Many local hospitals offer UE graduates full-time nursing positions prior to graduation. The Dunigan Family Department of Nursing and Health Services has had 100 percent of its students find employment or enroll in graduate school after graduation. The NCLEX-RN pass rate for the class graduating in May 2015 was 95 percent.
Sheli Ledbetter began her career at UE as a biology major but switched to pursue a nursing degree. Her choice opened the door to unforgettable experiences. One of her clinical experiences was an OB/GYN rotation where she stayed on the delivery floor for 12 hours to witness an entire birth. “I had the opportunity to hold the mom’s hand, help her breathe and count to 10,” she said. “It was simply awesome to see that little guy be born!”
When she studied at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, Sheli was able to work in British hospitals and witness the differences in nursing practice between the two countries.
Sheli was pushed hard and challenged in the classroom but never lacked support. “The school is small enough that you know your professors very well and you build a relationship with them,” she said. Her professors were always available to offer encouragement whenever she needed. “The program is rough, rigorous, and at times, may make you want to quit,” she said. “But if you stick with it, the long-term rewards and future opportunities are far greater than anything you can imagine.”
According to Sheli, UE’s undergraduate curriculum provided a foundation for dealing with the stresses of her burgeoning career. “Much of what we nurses learn is based on our work experience, but UE did a phenomenal job at preparing us for the real-world,” she said. Sheli’s first job was in a cardiac intensive care unit. “Dr. Amy Hall’s critical care class prepared me to work in such an intense environment,” she said. An additional class, Dynamic Integration: Health Promotion within the Community, forced her to think critically and developed her writing skills. “The class was very challenging, but I would do it all over again if I had to because it made me a much better writer and student,” she said. “Had I not received such individualized teaching and support, I would never have been able to survive graduate school.”
Sheli is currently enrolled in Arizona State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and expects to graduate with a dual specialty of adult and geriatric nurse practitioner. She has also been selected for a prestigious internship in Washington, DC, working in the National Institutes of Health or the World Health Organization to develop ways to decrease the rate of chronic illnesses in the US and identify at-risk patients. She hopes this effort will lead to an increase in preventative medicine and education.