Frontline Nurse Scholar: Georgia Public Health Nurse Looks to American Sentinel to Extend Her Opportunities to Serve Others

Frontline Nurse Scholar: Georgia Public Health Nurse Looks to American Sentinel to Extend Her Opportunities to Serve Others

Jarrett Hayles-Patterson came to the United States from Jamaica in 1999 with several years of accounting clerk experience under her belt, but took advantage of the opportunity to try something new—and closer to her heart. 

“The diploma I had didn’t really qualify me to work in the U.S., so I went back to school to become a Certified Nurse Assistant and started working in a hospital,” says Jarrett, who lives in New Jersey. Quickly, however, Jarrett felt drawn to nursing, so she enrolled in an A.A.S. Nursing program at Essex County College in Newark. She cared for her young daughter during the day, met her husband coming from work in the parking lot of the college in the afternoons so he could take their daughter home, and then went to school until 10:00 p.m. most nights “It was a struggle and exhausting, but when you really want something, you’re willing to do whatever it takes. And my husband is my number one supporter.” 

A move to Georgia

Not long after becoming a Registered Nurse in 2010, Jarrett and her family moved to Georgia, where she started her nursing career in hospice. Soon, she moved to a psychiatric mental health facility for pediatric patients. In 2012, Jarrett got into med-surg in the hospital setting, where she worked until 2016. 

The move into the hospital setting is also what led Jarrett to pursue a BSN degree too. She enrolled in a program in her local area, but discovered after one class it wasn’t a fit. “The classes weren’t all relevant and I started looking for a nursing-focused curriculum,” she says. “That’s how I found American Sentinel.” She completed the BSN in 2014. 

Public health

When the opportunity to join a public health department as a nurse arose in 2016, Jarrett was excited for a new challenge. “The timing was great for me because my daughter was transitioning into high school and the public health department is down the street from her high school,” she says. “I’d never done public health before, but it has opened my eyes to the importance of serving people who need it most. It also made me realize that I can and should do more.” 

A big decision: to return to school

In 2017, Jarrett decided she wanted to become a Nurse Practitioner. “In public health, I’ve seen a high turnover of Nurse Practitioners and it seems like there’s a real need for NPs,” she says. “We can do more for patients and that’s what I want to advocate for.” In her research for the right program, she kept coming back to American Sentinel, knowing that university had recently launched an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program. “I knew that with American Sentinel, I could work school into my busy life and I knew I could afford it.”

A desire to work in primary care

In fall 2019, Jarrett enrolled in the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program. When she graduates in 2021, she hopes to work in a primary care setting. “I want to care for the whole patient and not just limit myself to one aspect of their care,” she says. 

Along the way, Jarrett applied for and was awarded the Frontline Nurse Scholarship. “It came at the absolutely perfect time,” says Jarrett, whose daughter just started college in fall 2020. “I moved to part time when I started back to school. I want to continue serving my community in public health, but also give school the attention it deserves. The scholarship is a big help and will allow me to achieve my goals. I’m so glad I went to American Sentinel.” 

The Frontline Nurse Scholarship awarded five American Sentinel BSN alumni working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to support patients and their communities. It was a one-time, not recurring, scholarship

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