When Natalie Root was growing up, she watched her brother struggle with a number of health problems and become diagnosed with a severe brain development disorder at the age of six.
“My mom always talked about the fact that the nurses are who saved my brother from dying as a toddler,” says Natalie, who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Maryland as a teen. From a young age, she was certain that her career path would involve healthcare in some capacity. She enrolled in a two-year medical careers program as a high school student and got exposed to the Emergency Room. “I loved it. That program really made me want to become an ER nurse.”
A career in emergency nursing
After graduating with the ADN, Natalie started her career as a cardiac stepdown nurse, then moved into the Emergency Department of Mary Washington Hospital in Virginia, where she moved with her husband—her high school sweetheart. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing along the way, choosing advanced clinical as her MSN focus, and pursued the Emergency Clinical Nurse Specialist certification as well.
Time for a change
After earning her certification in 2005, Natalie became an Emergency/Trauma Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) at Mary Washington. “I found myself feeling like it was time to do something more for my career, and I started thinking about becoming a Nurse Practitioner,” says Natalie. “As a CNS, I’m providing a lot of supportive education, but not always offering the interventions and course of care. I miss that and like the idea of so much hands-on patient care as a Nurse Practitioner.”
Discovering American Sentinel University
A colleague at Mary Washington had the same idea and so Natalie was encouraged to start looking into programs. She found American Sentinel University’s MSN Family Nurse Practitioner and started the program in October 2020.
As a full-time CNS and mother to a two-year-old, Natalie finds American Sentinel to be challenging but doable. “It’s organized, clear and predictable,” she says. “But what really makes American Sentinel awesome is that I can put in 110% without taking away from my children and husband. It offers life balance. It’s a great program and the classes are so good that I often wish they were 10 weeks instead of eight! I don’t want them to end.” Natalie will graduate from the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program in 2022.
Year of the Nurse Scholarship
Natalie received the Year of the Nurse scholarship from American Sentinel and was overwhelmed with gratitude by the news.
“This being the Year of the Nurse, receiving this scholarship meant so much to me,” she says. “I love being a nurse and I really love my job. So, receiving this scholarship was special beyond just the money.”
Goals to continue working in emergency
Natalie hopes to work as a Family Nurse Practitioner in an emergency setting after she graduates, but she is open to other opportunities too. “I’ve always had a strong interest in infectious diseases, so I could see going that route, but I’m really pretty open minded,” she says. “The MSN Family Nurse Practitioner will open the door for opportunities. I’m confident of that and glad I’m doing it.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel celebrated by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Several scholarships were awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to the fourth quarter recipients.
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