Robin Murray was a candy striper as a teenager, but it wasn’t until after she served in the United States Air Force for three years that she decided to enroll in a BSN program at Indiana University.
“I went to college while serving in the reserves, graduating in 1997,” says Robin. She was hired into a new graduate internship program at Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, later working for Visiting Nurses Association as a field nurse. Robin also became an adjunct instructor at Red Rocks Community College, teaching high school students to become Certified Nursing Assistant students. “In nursing school, I had some really great professors. I knew then that I wanted to teach.”
Building her resume
1999, Robin returned to Indiana (Indianapolis), worked briefly in occupational health, and began an MSN program. She then moved to St. Louis and transferred to Webster University where she completed her MSN, nurse educator focus, in 2003. After completing her master’s, Robin accepted a critical care fellowship at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. “I was doing my best to lay the groundwork for teaching,” she says. “I knew that gaining that ICU experience would make me a better professor one day.”
Achieving her goal to teach
In 2004, Robin reached the goal she had been working toward: she got a position as an assistant professor of nursing at Jefferson College, a two-year school. There, she worked her way up to associate professor and in 2008, became the RN program coordinator.
In 2009, Robin took on a new exciting challenge: she became a mother. Robin moved to teaching online at Jefferson, while also working per diem at St. John’s Mercy. “I was a stay-at-home-mom for five years, but I wanted to ensure that I didn’t lose my place in line, so to speak. I had worked hard to become an educator.”
When Robin’s youngest child turned one in 2013, her family moved down the street from Saint Charles Community College, and she applied there to teach clinicals. Robin was soon hired as a full-time faculty member and taught at Saint Charles until 2017. Then, she was hired as an assistant professor of nursing at Missouri Baptist University, with an agreement that she would enroll in a doctorate program.
Starting the DNP program
Robin’s boss, Dr. Amber Pyatt, founding dean of Missouri Baptist University School of Nursing, is a 2016 DNP graduate of American Sentinel University. “She had talked about what a great experience she had an American Sentinel,” says Robin. She researched other doctoral programs on her own, but none offered the educational leadership focus that she found so appealing about American Sentinel’s program. In April 2017, Robin started the DNP Educational Leadership.
Personal and professional growth
Robin’s favorite part of the program was the ability to pursue her education while working full time and caring for her children. “I love that I can pursue this on my time,” she says. I also loved how the conversations about deep subject matter started in my very first class. Overall, the DNP has been challenging and at times overwhelming, but very beneficial.”
In October 2019, Robin graduated. Earlier this year, she presented her capstone research at the Professional Nurse Educators Group annual conference, giving a 60-minute podium presentation. The topic, civility in nursing and how to use education to promote it, has been so well received that Robin was asked in October 2019 to discuss the topic on a Sigma Theta Tau podcast series along with other incivility experts.
Confidence…for her and her students
Civility is something near and dear to Robin’s heart. “As nursing educators, we owe it to our students to equip them with the skills and abilities to communicate effectively and deal with incivility,” she says. “I incorporate the real-life scenarios that students bring from their clinical experiences and we work through them together.”
In fact, confidence is one of Robin’s greatest takeaways from her DNP program. “My writing skills have really improved, but is more than that,” she says. “I have learned to think more broadly and deeply about issues and I have gained more confidence in my ability to lead. I hope to continue to pursue a culture of civility and professionalism in nursing and continue to grow as an educator and nursing leader.”
Inspired by Robin’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.
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