Holly Weisheit | Pediatric Nurse and International Relief Nurse

Holly Weisheit | Pediatric Nurse and International Relief Nurse

Year of the Nurse Scholarship Recipient

Holly Weisheit didn’t start her career in nursing, but once she discovered it as a young adult, she knew she’d found her passion. 

After considering pursuing nursing when she was younger, Holly, who grew up in southern Oregon, instead started out as a communication studies major at Portland State University, where she also worked as a department secretary, class and event coordinator and summer session manager for 10 years. 

“I was a student and an employee at Portland State at the same time,” says Holly. The generous employee tuition reimbursement program allowed her to pursue a Master of Public Administration while she worked there as well. “I thought working for government and nonprofit organizations to provide relief to developing countries would be very rewarding and interesting.” 

The start of her travels

In 2007, Holly met her husband and the couple was married a few years later. Her husband’s job in civil construction has taken them all around the country, and when the couple moved to Boston in 2010, Holly started thinking about her next chapter beyond working in higher education. 

“We didn’t have children yet and he encouraged me to think about what I really wanted to do next,” Holly says. In the back of her mind was the idea she’d had as a young woman: nursing. She completed an Associate Degree of Nursing program at a Boston community college to start her nursing career. When her husband’s job transferred them to Omaha, Nebraska, in 2014, Holly then completed a BSN from an online program. 

Medical-surgical and pediatrics

While living in Nebraska, Holly gained clinical experience in a medical-surgical unit and as an intensive care unit float nurse for Nebraska Medicine. A year and a half later, the family moved to Denver, Colorado, where Holly got on as a pediatric nurse. 

That same year, Holly went on her first international medical mission in Belize. “It was an eye-opening and rewarding experience that made me realize that I want to do more in my career,” she says. When she returned, she was sure of her next chapter: a Nurse Practitioner program. 

American Sentinel University

An extensive search led Holly to American Sentinel University’s Nurse Practitioner program. “I looked at everything: curriculum, price, how easily I could complete the program online,” says Holly, whose husband travels a few weeks a month for work. Doing a Nurse Practitioner program, she adds, had to fit her already busy life. And American Sentinel checked all the boxes.

Holly chose the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner for a broad education base—and started classes in fall 2018. “I want to be able to treat prenatal through geriatric patients,” she says. Holly also wants to continue working for international relief organizations when the opportunities arise. “We are used to moving and my husband and I would love to take our family overseas where I could provide medical support to people in a developing country. That’s my 5-10-year goal: to move before my kids are headed into middle school.” 

Year of the Nurse Scholarship

In April 2020, Holly applied for and was awarded American Sentinel’s Year of the Nurse Scholarship. “Truly, it feels like recognition for all the work I am doing,” she says. “I’ve worked very hard in school and my career, and to receive this scholarship to support my efforts means a lot.” 

Plans to make an impact

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Holly quit her position at Arapahoe Park Pediatrics because she knew she would need to spend her days caring for her elementary-age children, who are too young to stay home alone and navigate school independently. When she graduates with the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner in early 2021, she is looking forward to starting a new chapter as an NP. 

“I want to get back to work as soon as possible and I’m excited about the future,” she says. “I am interested in epidemiology and I could see myself pursuing a doctorate one day too.” When life is a bit more normal and her children can return to school, Holly is excited to continue her nursing career. “Nursing is what I love to do and I can’t wait to gain experience as a Nurse Practitioner.” 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Five scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here

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Melissa Williams | Residential Nursing Faculty, Glendale Community College
Donna Keith | Community Health Nursing Consultant and Immunizations Program Director, Sarasota County Health Department