I remember as a young nurse I spent my early nursing years in exciting acute care areas like renal transplant, acute hemodialysis, and intensive care. As my children came along, I gravitated to psychiatric nursing and primary care, slightly calmer environments with fewer on-call hours. In 1989, I went to Zambia, in southern Africa, and ran a small clinic for a year. I saw conditions I had only read about, and dealt with a widespread cholera epidemic, malaria, malnutrition, dehydration, tuberculosis, AIDS, childbirth, blindness, skin infections, venereal disease, and shocking ignorance about basic health matters such as hygiene and nutrition. I fell in love with community-based nursing, and returned home to a job in home care. After a few years I worked with investors and a partner to start a home care and hospice company that grew to fifty agencies in four states. We implemented one of the earliest electronic health record systems in the country, which was a difficult process for our nurses.
We sold the company to an assisted living corporation, and I started a publishing company to address the need for materials focused on home care and hospice. I later sold the publishing company, and returned to my original dream of decided it was time to get a graduate education. The idea of teaching was beginning to attract me again, as it had when I was a child, and I was particularly drawn to online education, which was just then beginning to become available in graduate nursing programs. As I learned how to teach nursing, I gravitated again toward leadership and entered academic administration, becoming a graduate program director, a dean, and a campus president at different schools. Many things have come together in my current position as director of graduate programs for Chamberlain College of Nursing, with my experiences in nursing leadership, education, and technology informing what I do every day.