At the age of 25, Praxedes Fofung came to the United States from her home country of Cameroon, Africa. Though she had planned to study journalism there, in the U.S., she decided that healthcare was a growing industry with strong career potential. “I originally moved to New Jersey, but soon went to Maryland, where I have family,” says Praxedes. Right away, she enrolled in an associate degree of nursing program at Prince Georges County Community College. She became a Registered Nurse in 1999 and started her career in neurology at a hospital in Toronto, working with patients with stroke symptoms, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis, among other medical issues.
Back to the Washington, D.C. area
In 2002, Praxedes and her family returned to Maryland and she joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds in northwest Washington, D.C. She spent eight years in medical-surgical and cardiac nursing before moving into a clinical consultant position with MedStar Visiting Nurse Association, which offers nursing, rehabilitation, infusion, and disease management for chronically ill and disabled patients in their homes.
In 2012, Praxedes received a promotion to clinical consultant manager, overseeing clinical consultants at four MedStar hospitals. “That’s when I realized I needed a bachelor’s degree,” she says. “I actually started taking BSN classes elsewhere, but dropped the program when it didn’t work for me.” When an old colleague from Georgetown University Hospital referred her to American Sentinel University, Praxedes liked what she learned. “American Sentinel made the process smooth and simple, and I didn’t have to take extra classes I wouldn’t need.” She graduated with the BSN in 2014.
Seeking business education
Earning the BSN helped Praxedes achieve her goals—and it also inspired her to do more. “I started thinking about my future with my company and it seemed that business education would open a lot of doors for me, especially given that I’ve been in a business development area at MedStar Visiting Nurse Association for many years now.” she says. She looked at the MBA Healthcare and discovered a curriculum that would help her improve her skills and enhance her knowledge for her current job. “I love learning new things and I also know that the business side of healthcare is so important. Combining my nursing experience with a business education will help me in my position so I can better our department and company.” Praxedes started the MBA Healthcare in 2015 and finished the program in April 2017.
A great experience
Praxedes admits that the MBA Healthcare challenged and pushed her, and fortified her knowledge. “I kept thinking as I went along, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ but as time went on, that became ‘I’m doing it!’” she says. “It was a great program that caused me to look deeper into my organization to understand what we do and how my department supports that.” Along the way, Praxedes earned a scholarship from MedStar to support her studies.
Education as a family pursuit
With a high school senior at home who graduates this month, Praxedes was aware of the influence that her educational pursuits would have on her daughter. “She has really grown to value education,” says Praxedes, whose husband earned his PharmD from Howard University Washington D.C. as well. Her daughter will start as a biology major at Towson University in the fall.
“My husband and daughter have been very supportive of me throughout this whole journey,” she says. “I’ve had two full-time jobs: school and work! It was overwhelming at times and a lot of work, but I’m so happy I did it. And as my daughter heads off to college herself, I believe it has impacted her in a positive way to see how both her parents have dedicated themselves to lifelong education.”
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