If someone went back in time to tell the 18-year-old Sandrea Norman how much she would achieve over the next two decades, she wouldn’t have believed them.
“I dropped out of high school my senior year, but ended up getting the GED,” says Sandrea, who was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. “I worked in telemarketing after that for a number of years, but the truth was, I knew I wanted to do something more with my life.” Sandrea became a Certified Nurse Aide/Home Health Aide for five years, which inspired her to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.
A foray into nursing
Sandrea earned the LPN in 2004 and started working in an assisted living facility. “I found that I just had this natural ability to connect with patients,” she says. Eventually, she was encouraged by the physicians and other coworkers in one of the settings where she worked along the way—an internal medicine outpatient clinic—to become a Registered Nurse. “I realized I shouldn’t limit myself when the RN would offer me more opportunity.” She earned an ADN in 2010.
Sandrea’s first job as an RN was at a cardiology practice as a nurse in the catheterization lab. She later accepted a position at North Florida Regional Medical Center. For the next several years, Sandrea gained experience in vascular access, hospice, community health and home community care—where she still works today.
First stop: BSN; making plans for an MSN
In 2018, Sandrea earned a BSN. “It was something I had actually started years prior, but had to put on the back burner when life got in the way,” she says. She finished up in 2018 and joined a health insurance company in 2019 as a case manager in the long-term care department.
During her undergraduate experience, Sandrea started thinking about the possibility of a master’s degree too. “I was intimidated by the idea of graduate school, but a nurse who I had worked with in community health was actually the one to push me,” she says. “He said, ‘Go! We need your brain. You are a Nurse Practitioner waiting to happen.’”
Researching Nurse Practitioner Programs
After learning more about the Nurse Practitioner role, Sandrea began her research for the right Nurse Practitioner degree. “I was doing some research on different universities and programs and came across American Sentinel’s MSN Family Nurse Practitioner,” she says. “I started in September 2019 but had to put things on hold when some family matters came up.” In November 2020, Sandrea re-enrolled and got back on track toward achieving her dreams.
Year of the Nurse Scholarship
Upon restarting her program, Sandrea was proud to receive the Year of the Nurse scholarship. “I’m extremely honored I was selected,” she says. “It’s not even about the money as much as the meaning behind this scholarship.”
Expanding her horizons
Sandrea has several ideas in mind for her future. “My dream job is to work for Veteran’s Affairs in their primary care clinic,” she says. “I have great respect for our veterans and service members and it’s a patient population that is near and dear to my heart.” She would also consider working with renal patients, due to the intriguing complexity of the area. “I’m not exactly sure where I’ll go, but I feel that I have a lot to offer as far as knowledge and ability. With this degree, I will give myself the opportunity to do more for my patients.”
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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