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Nichole Luckshis
MSN-FNP Student, Class of 2021

Can you tell me your name and expected graduation date?

Yes, my name is Nichole Luckshis and I will be graduating in 2021.

What is your favorite part about being a nurse?

There's so many parts that I love about being a nurse, but it's generally the relationship that we gather with patients. You get to be there at special parts of their life, whether they're sick, whether they're happy and just kind of, you know, be able to be that person for them to gain relationships and then to be able to help them in many ways, whether it is like, again, with the birth of the child, with nurses who work labor and delivery or ... I'm an emergency room nurse, and so it's just being there when patients are sick and you can comfort family members, you can comfort the patients, and just taking care of them.

What made you decide to wanna be a nurse practitioner?

I wanted to be a nurse practitioner since I started nursing. Very early on I knew I'd love to teach, I loved to educate and I loved to educate patients. In our field, I feel like education kind of lacks, especially with health care with patients, they're not given the education that they need, they're not given the education on medicines that they need or just why they have disease processes, what they are. So I would love to be able to be that person, especially as a nurse practitioner, to be able to not only provide the care and manage that care for them but be able to educate and tell them, you know, why. What is this disease process, what medicine are you on, and why are you taking it, and just provide education all around.

Tell us about your educational background.

Well, I knew very early on, again, that I wanted to be a nurse. I graduated high school in 2004. I went straight into the nursing program. I graduated from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee in 2009 and I've been working as emergency room since, or emergency room nurse since. And then now, I started with this program.

What are your future plans and how do you plan to achieve them?

My future plans are first to graduate in 2021, and then I want to work as a nurse practitioner ... Honestly, I'm not sure the field I wanna go in, I have only done acute care, I've only done emergency medicine, so I'm very excited to actually branch out and do another field such as Primary Care or working, you know, I guess in specialized clinics such as neurology or cardiology, and do that. I'm just not sure exactly at this moment what I want to do, so hopefully in the next few months or kind of just going through clinicals, I'll be able to kind of hone down on that and figure out what area and what branch of nursing that I wanna do.

What impact do you wanna have on the nurse practitioner profession?

Again, I'm huge on education, I'm huge on teaching, I love to teach other nurses, I love to orient other nurses and I love to educate patients. So as far as impact on the nurse practitioner field as a whole, I think I just want to first, again, just provide good care, and second of all, just be able to make an impact with patients on education and education of their disease processes and everything that they're going through.

Tell us what attracted you to the program, and how you knew that Carson-Newman's program was the right fit for you?

Well, I actually saw an online ad on Facebook one day for the nurse practitioner program and I clicked on it. The thing with this program is that it was very easy to get involved, it was very easy to navigate through, and to apply to, which was great 'cause other programs you have to send in, you know, many different documents, it's hard to get a hold of someone. Amy was very, very responseful as soon as I applied in anything [to do] with this program, so that's how I kind of got involved, and I was accepted before I ever even knew it. I felt like there wasn't a lot of steps.

And the impact that has on my life is great because I'm still a full-time working nurse. I have two small children, so in my life it's very busy, it's very hectic. This program kind of applies to that - it strives to navigate around nurses' schedules, especially [those] that are still working full-time, which is exactly what I needed.

What are your expectations from your Carson-Newman educational experience?

My expectations are, I think if any, what I would expect from any university. I want a thorough education. When I want to get out, I want to know that first of all, I'm going to be able to take care of patients and be able to practice as a nurse practitioner and be able to pass their boards when we get completed. I want the education that is demanded and is that is needed to successfully be a nurse practitioner when I complete the program.

How do you balance a full-time working schedule, your online courses and all of your personal obligations?

It's very difficult.

Again, Carson-Newman works really well, it is, it's online. So all of your studying, all of your class time, it's all incorporated kind of on your time, so it's easier to manage. So if you work 40 hours or you're still working full-time, it's easier to kind of set aside times on your - when that fits into your schedule, which for me, I work three or four days a week, so I planned my studying time, I planned my time to do my homework on the times that fit for my family.

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

Apply. Apply.

Education is huge, we need nurse practitioners. This program again was very easy to navigate. It's very easy to get involved with. All you have to do is exactly what I did: just submit an inquiry saying, "Hey is this, is this potential? Can I potentially do this?" And then they kind of got you and assist you with all the steps from there.

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

Absolutely. So far we've come through and have done ... All of our classes up to date, have actually, I feel like, assisted me greatly, especially working in the emergency room. I'm paying attention to small things, I'm paying attention to assessment details that maybe I wouldn't have recognized before.

And it's honestly - as me, with my assessments being in the ER - being able to adequately assess things again that I wouldn't have paid attention to before.

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

It was great. That's probably one of my favorite things about this program is that they are so involved, they are consistently checking up on you, they're making sure that you have what you needed beforehand. Sometimes it ... again, your busy life - and you're doing school when you're doing work, and you have children, deadlines - things can be a problem. They've been very, very good about always staying ahead of you and saying, "Hey I just want you to know you have to register for your classes - that's upcoming. I've already signed you up, you just need to go in there, complete it." So it's been a huge help to kind of navigate through the program, to have someone to ask questions to and just to be able to just - to be there when we need them.

Tell us about your experience with the faculty and something that stands out most to you about them.

The faculty have been very welcoming, they have been very easy to ... I don't really have anything to discuss to be honest with you, that's it, that...

Do you did having small class size, make you feel like you're receiving more individual attention?

Yes, having a small class size in my opinion is always beneficial. One-on-one interaction with teachers, one-on-one interaction with other students and faculty, it just makes you feel more personable, it makes you feel that you get that attention. Having large class sizes, I feel like people that need more help or need more attention can kinda get pushed back into the back and not seen. So for me it's been ... I've enjoyed it.

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

Yes, this faculty has been great. Like I said, they've been very open, very, very welcoming, very forthcoming of the program, what is expected, what is needed for you, and they have been great.

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