Denice Sheehan, PhD, RN, FPCN, is the Interim Dean of Kent State University's College of Nursing and holds the Henderson Endowed Chair. In her Year of the Nurse story, Dr. Sheehan shares her professional journey and offers sage advice for all nurses.
It is truly a great time to be a nurse! Nursing offers many opportunities to grow with your experiences and passions. When I began my career as newly graduated diploma nurse on a medical surgical floor at the Cleveland Clinic, I always knew I would return to school to earn my B.S.N and later my M.S.N. As I observed colleagues with masters and doctoral degrees, I knew I could attain both. My years as a clinician prepared me to teach; clinical stories always capture the interest and curiosity of students. Stories about teaching serve as examples for new faculty and participant narratives from our qualitative research studies inform clinical practice.
All my favorite nursing stories include mentoring; my mentors have shaped my career and continue to impact my thinking. Mentoring colleagues and students enhances everyone’s practice. Interdisciplinary and international mentoring is especially exciting. The Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Research Team is an innovative group. Each of us challenges each other, enhancing our work along the way.
Networking is another essential for nursing. Choose a few professional organizations and become an active member. Opportunities abound on committees and editorial review boards. Serving as a manuscript reviewer for a professional journal or an abstract reviewer for a conference offers the opportunity to see others’ work.
Explore the many opportunities a nursing career has to offer. Challenge yourself to go above and beyond what you think is possible. You can do it!