Louise Comer always knew she wanted to work in healthcare and grew up thinking she wanted to become a midwife. Instead, she went into nursing and pursued maternal child health. “I wanted to work with women, children and infants,” says Louise, who grew up mostly in Texas. She earned the BSN at the University of Texas in 2000 and began her career in the labor and delivery unit of Baylor Hospital.
Around the world and an MSN
Over the next several years, Louise was a nurse in labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care units in hospitals in South Carolina, South Korea and Nevada—her husband’s military job took them around the world. In 2008, she settled in Texas, where she became Lamaze and Breastfeeding Educator certified and started as a childbirth educator at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth.
That’s when Louise decided to earn the MSN Nursing Education at Texas Woman’s University. “When I decided to go forward with an MSN program, I was thinking about my future and expanding my options,” she says. “Labor and delivery and working with babies and infants is very rewarding but can be a difficult schedule with a family. I love school, learning and teaching others.”
Testing out teaching
When she finished the MSN, Louise became a full-time lecturer at Texas Christian University. “I had done my practicum experience there and inquired about a job and was hired to teach maternity classes,” says Louise. After a while, she had the opportunity to join her MSN alma mater, Texas Woman’s University, as an adjunct—and the position became full time in 2014.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Eventually, Louise felt it was important that she get a doctorate to continue on her path of leadership in teaching. “I was told about the Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership at American Sentinel University by another colleague,” she says. “I researched the program as well as several others but found that American Sentinel fit my goals the best.” She enrolled in 2019 and expects to graduate from the program in 2022.
As a busy mother of three children, ages 14, 8 and 6, Louise moved to adjunct at both Texas Christian and Texas Woman’s in 2019 to allow her time to focus on her DNP program. American Sentinel has been the achievable challenge she was hoping for. “The workload is manageable if you develop a structured routine and stick to it,” she says. The curriculum, she adds, is very relevant to what she does every day. In fact, for Louise’s capstone project, she is studying the impact of virtual simulations on students’ self-efficacy. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, this topic is very timely. I’ve found that the move to completely online learning isn’t easy for some students. I want to study ways we can adapt our online learning models to help learners.”
A new job, big goals for the future
Starting in fall 2020, Louise will transition to teaching face-to-face classes at Texas Christian. She knows that having a doctorate will help her take advantage of career opportunities when they arise in the future.
“I love teaching so much and I’ve been teaching online as an adjunct for Texas Woman’s and Texas Christian, but I miss working with students in the classroom,” Louise says. “My hope is that I have opportunities to move into more of a leadership position in the undergraduate nursing program at TCU down the road. I love helping students learn to think like a nurse to set a good foundation for their careers.”
Inspired by Louise’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.