When Sheila Matye started her career at Montana State University-Bozeman’s College of Nursing in 2004, she knew that advanced education was in her future. Several years after earning her BSN and MSN in nursing education from Gonzaga University (in 2004 and 2006, respectively) Sheila decided to pursue a doctoral degree. As a busy faculty member, an online program was a must.
“American Sentinel’s DNP Educational Leadership really spoke to me,” Sheila says. “I knew that a Ph.D. would be more focused on research and theory, and I wanted a program that would allow me to better myself and guide my students toward success.” Sheila began the DNP in 2013.
Grateful for the experience
With 22 years of prior clinical experience in pediatric and critical care nursing, Sheila had a good understanding of what it takes to be a strong nurse – but says the DNP helped her enhance that understanding. “I feel more equipped than ever to help nurses be successful,” she says. “Students today are facing different issues, and it’s so important that we know how to educate them.”
Sheila graduated from American Sentinel University in June 2015 and came to Denver for commencement and to celebrate with her fellow cohort members. “Taking the leap to earn the DNP is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she says. “It was so very worth it, and I truly did learn from every single person I interacted with – those in my cohort and my professors. I’ve also gained friendships with people that I know I’ll have forever.”
Making an impact in the nursing field
Sheila is now one of a few doctorally prepared faculty members at her MSU campus. The credentials are meaningful to her, but the path that they will allow her to take is what excites her the most. “I know that having my DNP will open up opportunities for leadership on my campus and throughout the Montana State University system,” she says. “I want to contribute to my field.”
Being a leader in the nursing industry isn’t anything new to Sheila. She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership MSU, for which she was selected to help contribute to the strength of her university. She is also an NCLEX exam writer for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, an ambassador and testing writing consultant for the National League for Nursing, and the leadership succession chair for Sigma Theta Tau International. “With my DNP, I know I’ll be able to offer feedback and innovative ideas to any committee or organization I’m involved with.”
The future is bright
Sheila has her sights set on becoming a dean, campus director, or other nursing leader down the road. For now, she will focus her efforts on making MSU-Bozeman’s MSN and DNP programs the best they can be. She also hopes to return to American Sentinel to teach as an adjunct. “I’d love to be a role model for students going through the BSN program,” she says. “This has been a tremendous learning experience and I would feel blessed to pass on some of what I’ve learned to undergraduates at American Sentinel.”
Inspired by Sheila’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.
American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including an RN to BSN program and advanced degree programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection control, and executive leadership.