Patricia’s Journey of Faith and Education

My parents believed in education and encouraged their children to achieve it. Their encouragement included trips to bookstores, libraries, plays, concerts, and other cultural activities. Serendipity played a role in my life in the form of “Julia,” a television show. I was mesmerized by the nurse character Diahann Carroll played and imagined myself as her. This television program inspired me deeply, and as a child, I dreamed of becoming a nurse. 
I graduated from Resurrection Elementary School. Although my parents and I are of the Baptist faith, they wanted me to continue attending a Catholic parochial school. 
Recruiters from Catholic High Schools located in Chicago and its suburbs met prospective students and their parents during an open house held at St. Catherine Catholic School. Sister Rosemary and Mrs. Brady spoke with my mother about Trinity’s commitment to academic excellence and Christian values. My parents decided that Trinity High School was my ideal school.  
My experiences while enrolled in Trinity were invaluable. Classes were small, teachers encouraged knowledge acquisition, and extra curricula activities were conducted for a well-rounded education. I enjoyed being part of Trinity’s choral department. The most crucial factor stressed during my years at Trinity was consistent and continuous exposure to Christian principles. The Christian value that I was taught at home and at Trinity that has remained within me is, the culture changes; however, the Word of God remains the same.  

An area in which my religious education impacted my professional goals was my volunteer work as a Candy Striper at St. Anne’s hospital.  Buttressed by these experiences, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Being a nursing student at Tuskegee was a life-changing experience. During my community health rotation, I was confronted with southern, rural, abject poverty and healthcare disparities. This experience ignited a passion for me to care for the underserved population. I received my bachelor’s degree in nursing and became a registered nurse in 1985. 

I began my nursing career in Atlanta, GA, and acquired experience in public and private hospitals, public health clinics, and private medical practices. The desire to work with patients in a holistic manner led to the completion of a master’s degree in nursing from Emory University. I became a nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist in 1991. 
Teaching would become a calling for me, as I taught clinical courses at the Chamberlain School of Nursing in Atlanta, GA, and Tuskegee University. Education enabled me to understand that the shortage of nurses and nursing instructors impacted the availability of healthcare, especially in under-resourced communities. I decided to use my knowledge, skills, and experience to help ameliorate the crisis. I enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Emory University. I completed courses, conducted research, and taught classes to undergraduate and master’s students at Emory’s School of Nursing. I completed my doctorate in December 2022, continued to teach clinical courses at Emory University, and volunteered with various community organizations. Currently, I am a clinical instructor at Emory University School of Nursing.