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Christy OConnell
MSN-FNP Student, Class of 2021

“I appreciate that it's a Christian university.”

Tell us your name, what program you're in, and when you expect to graduate.

"I'm Christy O'Connell. I'm in the Family Nurse Practitioner program, and am expected to graduate in the summer of 2021."

What do you really like about nursing?

"I like taking care of patients. I like helping people feel better when they're sick."

Tell us about your educational background. How did you get from there to here?

"I got my RN degree in 2005, and have done some home health and women's health. In 2018, I got my Master's in Nursing Education. I do adult health clinicals, which made me feel like I want to do more in nursing. So, I'm pursuing my FNP now."

What are your plans for the future?

"I want to move to a smaller area. I like taking care of smaller communities, I think, just more rural, and educating patients on health and taking care of all kinds of different disorders. I plan on moving to a more rural area and taking care of patients in those areas, just educating people on their health and how to stay healthy."

“I've learned a lot so far.”

Let's talk about your Carson-Newman experience. What are your expectations from this program?

"I hope to graduate being a very good nurse practitioner. I've learned a lot so far, and I think my expectations will be met."

How do you balance home and work and school?

"Lots of organization. It was a little difficult at first, but then once I got organized and got my schedule down on what I need to do and when, it's all working out very well."

Have you been able to integrate any of what you've already learned into your current job?

"Yes. I'm in women's health now, but I'm integrating some of these new skills into that assessment. Even though it's not really required, I just think in my head that's what I would be doing."

Is there anything that might be specific that you could talk about that?

"I think some of my skills have been improved. The faculty are very educated, very knowledgeable in their field, and I feel like they've taught us so much."

“The faculty are very educated, very knowledgeable.”

When you compared Carson-Newman to other schools, did you find the tuition to be competitive?

"Yes, I found the tuition to be very competitive."

What other features of the Carson-Newman program have you found to be particularly helpful to you?

"Some things that have been helpful in the program are the educator's instruction in the class, with the online class, and just guiding us through our skills."

What advice would you give other students who are starting this program?

"For students that are starting the Carson-Newman nurse practitioner program, just be very organized and be ready to work really hard."

Have you worked with the placement service at all for clinical?


Is there anything to elaborate on your decision to come here?

"Choosing Carson-Newman, I researched other schools, even online schools, and I found the tuition was more reasonable. I feel like with smaller class sizes, the instructor is able to help you more along the way. And I appreciate that it's a Christian university."

“It makes me think about morals and values.”

What specifically about that makes you drawn into it over something else?

"Being a Christian university just makes me think about morals and values. That's what would draw me to them. I actually didn't really know about Carson-Newman. We've passed that sign on Interstate 40 going to Gatlinburg so many times. And I've noticed it and didn't think anything about it, but then on my way here, I was like, "That's where I'm going." But I was just really excited that I found a smaller school this close, and I was just really excited about that."

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