It was challenging enough for Kristen Sheldon to start the DNP Executive Track with a 2-year-old—while also working as a family nurse practitioner, teaching at the nurse practitioner program at Texas Woman’s University, and working as a nurse practitioner at a medical spa—but then she found out she was pregnant again! “It was a shock, especially because wasn’t easy to get pregnant with our first child,” Kristen says. Now she’s in the last part of her doctoral program with two kids under three.
Kristen decided to go back to school because the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nursing are now encouraging nurses to be doctorally prepared. “I knew I wanted my DNP but I didn’t expect it to be Hopkins,” Kristen says (she lives in Houston, TX). “I didn’t know I could do it online until I went to a nurse practitioner conference and spoke with a recruiter. And I didn’t tell my husband I applied until I got the interview.”
“My family is 100% the reason I’ve been successful,” Kristen says, “It’s not me it’s them, my whole family should be earning this degree. My husband travels a lot for work so without the grandparents I couldn’t do it.” Her mom comes to do the laundry, or her in-laws take the kids at night so she can work. She also manages her time better, “like getting groceries delivered instead of wasting time at the grocery store. That’s our life right now it’s not glamorous but it’s ours.”
For future students considering a DNP, Kristen has a few tips:
1. Find your support system (“You need one at school and one at home”)
2. Think about how you can simplify your life
3. If you have a family, make sure they’re on board. If they are you’re unstoppable
4. Even when you think you can’t, you can!
Happy Mother’s Day
Top: Glenn Ellisor (Kristen’s dad), Clark Sheldon (Kristen’s Father in Law), Kyle Sheldon (Kristen’s husband); Bottom: Clairice Ellisor (Kristen’s mom), Kensington Sheldon (Kristen’s 3 year old), Kristen, Knox Sheldon (will be 1 on May 18), and Vicki Sheldon (Kristen’s mother-in-law)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SYDNEE LOGAN
Sydnee Logan is the Social Media and Digital Content Coordinator for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares what’s going on here with the world.