From a young age, Amber Martin was drawn to nursing—so it was no surprise when this Portland, Oregon, native graduated high school and immediately went on to earn a BSN at Linfield College. She started her career as a medical/surgical/transplant acute care RN at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, and soon continued on for further education.
“Mentors encouraged me to think about becoming a Nurse Practitioner,” says Amber, who eventually decided that such a path would offer her an array of career options. She enrolled in Washington State University’s Master of Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner program.
A career change
After graduate school, Amber joined a Planned Parenthood branch as a Nurse Practitioner. While she enjoyed her job, she started thinking about teaching. “On a whim, I applied for a nurse educator position at Portland Community College and started working there in 2008,” says Amber, who continued working at Planned Parenthood on a per diem basis. “Teaching turned out to be a great fit for me. I teach very new student nurses who don’t know what they’re getting into. I get to watch them experience a tremendous amount of growth, which is very rewarding.”
A respected college
From the start, Amber has enjoyed her role at Portland Community College, a place she says is “affordable, accessible and very well respected in the community.” After several years of teaching, she started to consider earning a doctoral degree.
“I’m one of those people who really likes school, and I also know that as an instructor, it’s great modeling to have students see me in school too,” Amber says. After enrolling in another university’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, Amber wasn’t receiving the experience she hoped—and decided to seek out a different DNP that was practice focused and online. “When I found American Sentinel after searching extensively, I really liked what I learned. The residency and the accreditation were important to me.”
In February 2014, Amber started the DNP Educational Leadership program. Through 2013, she continued to work per diem as a nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood followed by United Health Care.
Next stop: Gonzaga University
In May 2016, Amber completed her final defense of her capstone project for the DNP. She will officially graduate in 2016—a recipient of American Sentinel’s Richard W. Oliver Merit Award for Academic Excellence. Having met her personal goal of earning a doctorate, Amber believes she has become a better teacher, but she’s also decided to continue to expand her future career options even more by achieving yet another educational goal.
“I’m going back to school in the fall to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner,” Amber says, adding that throughout her clinical experience, she has discovered that people with mental illness have needs that she isn’t able to adequately address. “There is a dire need for more psychiatric nurse practitioners and I want to become part of the solution.” Amber will begin the online MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at Gonzaga University in fall 2016.
A bright future
As for what’s next in her career, Amber says her dream is to open her own mental health practice one day—and of course, to continue teaching. “Teaching is fulfilling in so many ways, and I am someone who loves to continue learning and continue challenging myself,” she says.
Amber is grateful to American Sentinel for giving her a positive online learning experience. “I’ve found every person at American Sentinel to be incredibly helpful,” she says. “They take proactive steps to make the DNP experience a great one for working professionals. From the curriculum to the capstone project, I learned a lot.”
Inspired by Amber’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.