Current nurse practitioner student, Amy Ochle, took a little time to offer those considering beginning the journey to become a nurse practitioner a glimpse into her life as a student. In October, Ochle began the Family Nurse Practitioner program, Nursing@Simmons, offered by the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Ochle graduated in 2001 from Dalton College with an ASN. She lived on a Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona for six years, where she obtained a BSN, MSN, and MBA. She currently works in a trauma center in Colorado Springs as a staff nurse in the emergency department. After obtaining her nurse practitioner degree, she would love to work in either family medicine or pediatrics and provide health care for underserved populations in rural areas. She has five children and a two-year-old granddaughter.
1. Why did you decide to return to school to become a nurse practitioner?
I have always wanted to be a nurse practitioner, but when I graduated with my ASN I had small children and was immediately the major breadwinner for the family. I didn’t want to sacrifice any more of my family time for school. I waited until 2007 to return to school for my BSN simply because I promised myself I would obtain a bachelor’s degree at some point. From then on I’ve been in school full time, and it seemed logical to keep the momentum up by obtaining a degree that will let me reach out to the underserved populations that I see regularly in the emergency department.
2. Describe the most challenging part of your nurse practitioner program so far?
Without a doubt it’s time management. I work full time, and as I’ve mentioned I have a family, so prioritizing my time to study has been challenging.
3. What aspects of the NP program have been the most gratifying?
The most enjoyable part has been the online classroom live sessions. I didn’t think I would like them, so it’s also the most surprising to me. I haven’t ever enjoyed being “in school,” although I do like learning and education as a whole. I usually find classrooms tedious because I figure I can read a textbook just as well as I can have an instructor lecture to me. What has been surprising is that the instructors don’t lecture so much as facilitate a discussion about the week’s assignments.
4. When thinking ahead to graduation, do you feel that you will be prepared to practice when you complete the program?
So far yes, although I’m sure I will get apprehensive the closer I get to graduating and being on my own. I would like to get in with a well-established practice.
5. What words of wisdom would you offer to people with an interest in beginning a nurse practitioner program?
Go for it. Don’t wait like I did. When I made the decision to wait, I thought I was doing what was best for my family at the time. I now realize that staying in school another 3-4 years after graduating with my ASN wouldn’t have really been that big a deal. The commitment to your education and your future is well worth the sacrifice. I also think that graduate nursing school would be at least a bit easier if I hadn’t lost some of the information I am now having to relearn (i.e., pathophysiology).