June 7, 2019
An online master’s degree in nursing wasn’t just a good choice for Paige Kennedy, it was the only choice that would work with her unpredictable schedule as a float nurse at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Although initially unsure about how she would fare in an online program, Kennedy knew the flexibility offered would be key to balancing work and school. She succeeded brilliantly - in May 2019, Kennedy graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing Education, and was named Outstanding Student of the Year in the Master of Nursing program.
While completing her degree at Franklin Pierce, Kennedy has had opportunities outside her coursework that will open doors for her in the future. She has built strong relationships with her professors and fellow students, developed a love of research, worked with faculty as a graduate teaching assistant, and helped develop curriculum for a new entry-level master’s program.
“In every aspect of Paige’s work, her enthusiasm and compassion for excellence in nursing shines through,” said Paula McWilliam, Director of Nursing.
A graduate of Colby-Sawyer College, Kennedy was used to traditional classroom learning, but she was able to adapt and thrive in online classes. “I multi-task really well, and the CANVAS app made it possible to chip away at my homework anywhere – at the hairdresser, or even standing in line at the grocery store!” she laughed.
She found that online classes challenged her to learn the material independently, express her ideas clearly in writing, and reach out to faculty when she needed help. “They were incredibly nice, and I think I called every one of them at one time or another. At first I worried about getting to know my professors and other students in online classes - I was pleasantly surprised. I think we actually got to know even more about each other because we had to write clearly, with detail and emotion, to be understood.”
She believes the strong writing and communication skills she has developed will serve her well. “You do a lot of writing as a nurse, making notes, writing letters to families, translating medical jargon, and teaching. As a nursing educator, I might do clinical education for nurses on the floor, academic education for people becoming nurses, and education for patients and their families, who are often going home with new information and equipment they need to learn to use quickly.”
Because of her work on her degree, Kennedy landed a new job a year ago as staff nurse in the Aerodigestive Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, working with children ages 6 months to 6 years with complex digestive issues. Her role includes bedside work, research and patient education. In addition, next fall she will be working as an adjunct faculty member in the Franklin Pierce nursing program, teaching nursing research and strategic planning.
“Enrolling in the nursing education program at Franklin Pierce was the best decision I ever made,” said Kennedy. “It was absolutely worth it.”
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