By JR Chappell
Unite Contributing Writer
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Parkin Arkansas, a town of less than 3,000 people. I graduated from Earle Arkansas High School, which was nearby and slightly larger. All together I have 7 brothers and 6 sisters. We all have at least a high school diploma. My mom (my hero) either worked in factory or janitorial jobs and always encouraged us to pursue our dreams despite financial or emotional hardships.
Can you tell us about your motivation to become a nurse?
We were poverty stricken as children. I wanted to pursue a career that was financially stable and lucrative.
Where did you get your education?
I attended the St. John’s school of nursing and became a diploma-trained nurse, then continued on to SMSU to earn my BSN and then on to UMKC to graduate with my Masters of Nursing Science (MSN) in 1997. I have practiced as a nurse practitioner since.
What types of nursing have you done?
I worked in cardiac step down for six years, then on to the Department of Mental Health where I worked with clients with mental disabilities. I then worked at the Federal Medical Center for two years, Greene County Health Department, the LINK clinic (a school based program) and family medicine at a clinic on East Sunshine, the Aids Project of the Ozarks and currently operate the Panther Clinic on the Drury Campus caring for students and faculty.
Have you ever had to deal with racism in your career?
Definitely, there have been times when patients said they wanted a different nurse because of the color of my skin. I was hurt and humiliated. My goal was to provide the best care possible but instead I was judged only by my skin.
On what basis were you chosen to be one of the 20 Most Influential Women in 2014 by the Springfield Business Journal?
(This question was answered by her husband, John, of 27 years) She was chosen due to her calm manner of leadership, her ability to focus on and solve problems as well as her ability to be a consensus builder.
What is your advice for young people?
Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. I was close to quitting several times but didn’t. Despite setbacks (like having to take the second semester of nursing school again) I persevered. Sometimes you may have to work harder or study longer.
What are your goals for the future?
I am thinking about adding Health Coaching to what I do. I am also thinking about some type of business venture perhaps adding on to what I already do.