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Lauren Crowe
MSN-FNP Student, Class of 2021

Tell me your name and expected graduation date.

My name is Lauren Crowe, and I'm expected to graduate in May of 2021.

What's your favorite part about being a nurse?

My patients are my favorite part about being a nurse.

I enjoy going to work every day to get to care and love on people spiritually, emotionally, and physically, so that's my favorite part.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a nurse practitioner?

I always knew I wanted to continue education. Nursing is a constant field of learning, and I knew that I wanted to pursue a higher level. Nurse practitioner really stuck out to me because I wanted to care for my patients on a different level and give the whole perspective, already having the experience as a nurse, and be able to give provider care as well.

Tell me about your educational background.

I have loved school - my family would say I major in school - but I went to the university twice. I originally went for a degree in health science to be a physician's assistant, wasn't accepted into any physician assistant schools, didn't know what to do, really prayed about it. The Lord led me back to Lee University to be part of their first class to graduate from the nursing program, which is all along perfect for where the Lord had me. And then I was sitting at home and Carson-Newman came up on some social media outlets, and I looked into the program, and Jesus is the center of where my education has been so far, and I knew that with the faith base of this university, coming to here to continue education really interested me.

What are your future plans?

I hope to be successful, obviously in the rest of this program, in life. I have a husband and we want to have kids and I want to hopefully work right now. My idea is a pediatric field, but I'm excited to experience the pregnancy side and the adult side in the family nurse practitioner field.

What types of impact do you wanna have on the nursing profession?

I just want my patients to feel loved and heard and cared about, and that we can provide for them and their needs and the way that is suited to their resources. I see a lot of that in the world that we have, we expect patients to come to us, when we should go to them. And medical missions has always been a part of my heart too, so I would hope to be able to help in that aspect as well.

Tell me more about what attracted you to the Carson-Newman program.

I know a lot of people that have come and played basketball or different kinds of sports for undergraduate [at Carson-Newman]. I hadn't really looked around much for my nurse practitioner yet. It came up on the social media and I looked into it. I really looked into the information on the website about being a center, a University of faith. That was really important to me because I think that's important in my nursing care that I've had, and as soon as I made contact I had emails and people calling me and - so nice, so open. Even if I didn't choose their program, they were open to helping me to find the programs that fit best for me and where I needed to go, and to me that was important 'cause they weren't trying to sway me one way or the other, they were interested in me as a student.

How do you balance a full-time work schedule with the online program and your personal obligations?

That's hard. And I think that's a day-by-day task, working. I'm grateful that I only work regular RN - the three 12-hour shifts, usually 13 or 14 hour - that on top of the school work. The teachers are great as they are the only way that it could be successful, 'cause they are very lenient. They're very open to changing certain things, if you have work on certain days. And that's been a huge blessing. And they say that from the beginning. If you let me know ahead of time, "I'm gonna be willing to work with you and whatever you need," and that is great, but I - personal obligations, to me ... education is important right now, and I can do that and I'm a time in my life that I can do that, and my husband can allow me to do that. And we decided this together in a lot of prayer, so I do what I can and I let the other sat on the back burner and whatever I can add in, I do.

What advice do you have for potential students enrolling in the program?

It's been phenomenal. The first advice I would give would be just talk to somebody about it. There's so many people that have been open to discussing the goods and the bads, and they've been very transparent with how it is and what to expect and they even say, "I don't know what to expect." But for example, I had an issue with a test last semester and I couldn't get a hold of anyone at the time, and then I had calls from four different people, professors I didn't even know that were going above and beyond to try to help me fix the test and calm my anxiety  ... and that to me, that personal connection, really was great. So I would just say just be open and willing and talk to somebody and ask all the questions and just take it with an open mind. Because nursing is different every day.

Have you been able to integrate what you've learned in the program in your current job and if so, can you give me an example?

Yes, so obviously we're in health assessment at this particular time in our nurse practitioner journey, and I have been assessing my poor patients, my little babies and my big babies, and my teenagers, way more than a regular nursing assessment. But it's been amazing to be able to see that and see the different varieties that I am gonna get ... I am assessing my husband at home, and I know what he's gonna do, whereas these kids aren't coached and I don't know what they're gonna do. For example, using the neuro, the range of motion and things like that. I have seen where we've had kids with CP or other issues that their CP has increased, and something more has gone wrong with her elbow or something that I noticed, and I could initiate the doctor: "Hey, you need to check this out while they're here 'cause they may just be here for a video EEG but they're having other issues." So that's been exciting to see my education is paying off a little bit.

How did working with a dedicated student support advisor impact your educational experience?

It's been great, Amy's phenomenal, so ... Advisors are a huge part of your education 'cause they're your person that you go to with all your questions, aren't there? They will try to answer the education questions but if they can't, they put you in contact with someone who can ... She's checking it on us ... I can't tell you how many time she's texted and emailed me and I probably haven't responded appropriately 'cause I've been working but she's never said anything, she's always been intentional. Always continuing to check in on us, making solutions to any problems that we have, and it's a nice bridge for us to the teachers.

Tell me more about your experience with the faculty. Is there one specific moment that stands out?

So, in general, when I had the test issue I got to talk to a lot of faculty, some that I have not even had in class yet, but they were very intentional with me. The faculty in general though, have been great. Any problems, any concerns? They always aid on the student side, willing to change whatever is needed. Talk to us on the phone, text us, email us back and forth, whatever is our best way of communication. They alter their meeting times. I know they're probably at home having dinner with their families, and they're talking to us on the phone, and that to me means a lot, 'cause they're making a personal connection with us. But here, just me actually getting to meet the professors, for this three-day residency has been nice to put a face with the name of how great they have been to us.

Do you think having a smaller class size makes you feel like you're receiving more of an individual attention from the faculty?

I enjoy a smaller class size. Where I went to nursing school I only graduated with 15 other classmates. So having a smaller class allows us to interact more. It allows us to interact individually. The teachers, they recognize our voices, they - Dr. Bolton has already been able to talk to some of us and call us by our name with just listening to us.

So it does make you feel like you're getting more of an individualized education versus in high school when you have - you graduate with 300 and something students. When you're small and specialized it, you do feel like you get more individual attention.

Do you find the faculty accessible, responsive and supportive and professional?

Yes ... They have gone above and beyond and exceeded all expectations ... Any of the professors have been gone above and beyond, altered their schedules, to help us. Not ask questions. They've not been too, they don't doubt us, they're very great.

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