There’s no doubt that Kim Fraser is a lifelong learner, even an advocate for higher education. Since she earned the Licensed Practical Nurse credential at Keewatin Community College in 1979, Kim never really stopped pursuing further education—she became a Registered Nurse in 1986 and earned the BSN in 1998, an Advanced Graduate Diploma in Advanced Nursing Practice in 2003 and an MSN in 2003.
“People ask me all the time if I’m crazy, but the truth is I just love to learn,” says Kim, a native of Manitoba, Canada. Early in her nursing career, she spent eight years working in pediatrics and four years in labor and delivery at Thompson General Hospital in Thompson, Manitoba, before moving into other areas of nursing, including home health care, public and community health. She also held various roles at First Nations Inuit and Health, Health Canada. “I’ve done a lot of different things as a nurse, mainly because anytime I saw something interesting, I just went and tried it.” Eventually, Kim decided she wanted to teach.
A passion for teaching future nurses
In 2000, Kim joined the faculty at the University of Manitoba/University College of the North joint Baccalaureate Nursing program as an instructor. After five years, she missed working with patients, and decided to try flight nursing with an aeromedical ambulance company, flying sick patients from northern remote communities into urban hospitals for further care. Feeling the need to learn more, Kim earned the MSN at Athabasca University, and shortly after graduation, started teaching there. “I loved the fast pace of the Nurse Practitioner program,” Kim says.
“I have had some interesting experiences and jobs in my life, and I felt like teaching would be a great way to share that knowledge with younger nurses,” says Kim. With several teachers in her family and her obvious enthusiasm for her profession, the move was natural. Having worked in a variety of interesting and exciting roles throughout her career, there was no doubt in Kim’s mind that nursing education was where she wanted to be.
More education for herself
In 2011, Kim had the opportunity to become full-time faculty member at Red River Community College, her RN alma mater. Around that time, she started thinking about earning a doctorate. “I looked into Ph.D. programs, but I just couldn’t find any that quite fit what I wanted,” she says. Kim started looking into American universities and discovered American Sentinel’s Doctor of Nursing Practice, educational leadership specialization. “My intent was to increase my knowledge and quench my undying thirst for learning. I compared American Sentinel to a number of different programs and I just kept coming back to American Sentinel.”
Kim started the DNP in January 2015 and attended her first residency in the spring. “It was wonderful,” she says. “Everyone in the room brought something different to the discussions, and I’ve found since returning home that the camaraderie is what makes this program special.” She hopes to complete the DNP in early 2017. At home, her husband is her greatest cheerleader, along with her adult children, and she applauds American Sentinel’s approach to online education and its “phenomenal student support.” “I feel like American Sentinel knows exactly what it’s doing with this program.”
Better equipped for her job
Although Kim admits that her pursuit of the DNP is more of a personal goal than a job requirement, she is already feeling the benefit of her education. “Every day, I take what I’m learning and apply it in my own classroom,” Kim says. “I love being an educator and I strive to give my students the very most out of the experience. I try to keep things interactive. I think the American Sentinel DNP is making me a better instructor and helping me build the skills I will need to move into a leadership role one day.”
Inspired by Kim’s story? A DNP with a specialization in educational leadership prepares master’s-educated nurses for leadership roles in nursing education programs. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.