When Teresa McPherson was 16 years old, a terrifying incident changed her life. During a pep rally at her school, Teresa was shot and rushed to a hospital for treatment. “The experience was scary, of course, but being cared for by the nurses and doctors in the hospital is what actually what led me down the nursing path,” she says. Teresa never wavered from that plan and after graduating high school, attended Ohio State University, earning the BSN in 1983.
United States Army
Teresa went into the U.S. Army and became an officer, then a second lieutenant. She worked as a nurse the entire time, providing direct patient care on various Army bases until 1995. That year, she became the chief nurse of the U.S. Army Health Clinic in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, managing all aspects of nursing and patient care for the Army base population of 4,000. She also earned an MSN in 1995 while stationed in San Antonio.
A move into education
In 1998, Teresa was presented a new opportunity: to move into the education side of nursing. She became the director of the 52-week Practical Nurse Course at one of six U.S. Army Training sites, supervising all faculty members and providing clinical and didactic instruction. She retired from the military in 2004, but decided to continue in education, joining the nursing faculty of St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. One day, Teresa told herself, she would return to earn a doctorate.
“When I retired from the Army, my kids were young and I wanted to focus on them and my job,” she says. “But I knew one day, it would be the right time. I saw returning to school for a doctorate as a way to solidify my future in nursing education.”
San Antonio College
In 2008, Teresa left St. Philip’s College and joined San Antonio College as an associate professor in the ADN program. As her children both graduated high school and left for college, she decided it was time for her to think about returning to school herself. “The more education you have, the more opportunities come your way,” she says. At the Texas Teachers’ Association conference, she learned about American Sentinel University and was immediately intrigued by the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
“The representative shared more about the educational track and it really sparked my interest,” Teresa says. “I filed it in the back of my mind, but when I was ready not long thereafter, that was the university and program that I looked into first.”
‘Spot on’ curriculum
The eight-week classes and supportive environment excited Teresa, but she also felt the DNP Educational Leadership curriculum was “spot on.” “I want to stay in nursing education and compared to many other programs I looked at, American Sentinel’s curriculum really stood out,” she says. “I want to be the best teacher I can be, so I want to make sure I’m up to date on the latest in pedagogy and research.” Teresa enrolled in the DNP in August 2016. That same year, she was promoted to full professor at San Antonio College.
A new year, a new move
In December 2018, Teresa taught her final semester at San Antonio College. She is moving to Florida now to be near her mother and other family members. “I’m now teaching online for the Alamo Colleges District, which includes both San Antonio College and St. Philip’s as well as several other schools, and my goal is to continue to teach online,” she says. “I enjoy teaching and I really like the online platform. It’s a great blend for me.”
Teresa will also turn her attention in 2019 to finishing her DNP Educational Leadership. “I’ve learned a lot and I do think whatever door I decide to go through, having the DNP will help me,” she says. “I’ll have options open to me. To me, pursuing education is always a smart investment.”
Inspired by Teresa’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.