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Nursing and Women’s Health

“Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses. We must be learning all of our
lives.” -Florence Nightingale

Samantha Sosa is a Registered Nurse (RN) working in the Mother-Baby Unit at North Kansas City Hospital. Samantha has been a nurse for five and a half years and is currently working on her Master’s of Science in Nursing as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Check out DEPCO’s interview with her below!

-Have you always wanted to be in the nursing profession?

I changed my major quite a few times early on in my undergrad, but finally settled on Fitness and Wellness, in which I obtained my first bachelor’s degree at Park University. Prior to graduation, I decided that what I really wanted to do was to pursue a career in nursing. I applied for and got accepted to William Jewell’s 12-month accelerated BSN program, and began about 1 month after graduation.

-How long have you been a practicing nurse?

I’ve been a nurse for 5 ½ years now. I originally started working on the Orthopedic unit at North Kansas City Hospital (NKCH) for almost 4 years, then transferred to their Mother-Baby unit.

-When were you first interested in becoming a nurse?

I have always admired the nursing profession. I had some family members that were nurses, and I just thought that they had such an incredible career. I was also hospitalized as a teenager, and the nurses that I encountered were truly amazing. I’ve just always held nurses in high regard.

-When did you first become interested in becoming a Nurse Practitioner?

Upon graduation with my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) and licensure as an RN, I remember stating clearly that I never wanted to go to school ever again. It was such an intense year of my life, that the idea of going back was too much for me to even consider. However, working as a floor nurse for a few years started to become difficult in other ways. I decided that I wanted more decision-making authority and autonomy when providing care for my patients.

-What kind of education and training do you need to become a nurse and become an NP?

There is more than 1 route to become a nurse, but I personally received my BSN, which is a 4-year undergraduate degree. It involves a certain number of clinical hours with volunteer nursing preceptors in numerous specialty settings, as well as an intense course-load. The individual must then pass the comprehensive NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) in order to obtain their RN license.

As for a Nurse Practitioner, a MSN or Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) must be earned in a NP specialty of study. This also involves clinical hours with an APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) or physician as a preceptor. The individual must then pass the certification examination to become board certified as a NP.

-Where was your training and education?

I obtained my BSN from William Jewell College, and fulfilled my precepted hours from nurses throughout hospitals in the greater Kansas City area. I am currently attending UMKC’s MSN-WHNP program, and have been working on my clinical hours with preceptors from clinics within the Kansas City area as well. I have worked with preceptors such as Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) and even Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), and will be working with a WHNP this coming semester.

-Did/Do you work in addition to training/school?

I did not work while attending school for my undergraduate degree, as the accelerated program was simply too intense to try to juggle both as well as have a family. I currently work part-time while attending school and fulfilling my clinical hours.

-What’s your favorite thing about your profession/education?

The reason I am pursuing this career is because of the absolute importance of women’s reproductive and sexual health, which unfortunately often gets neglected. This results in women not having the best chance at fulfilling all of their dreams and plans for the future. I want to be that provider who gives these women the resources, knowledge, and counseling to help them make the best health decisions for themselves. 

-What has been the most fulfilling experience throughout your nursing journey?

I have had so many different fulfilling experiences in this line of work, as those in the nursing profession see people at so many different points in their lives, the majority of those being extremely vulnerable. I would say that overall, connecting with these individuals from varied backgrounds with so many different life experiences has been amazing for me. Grieving with them, celebrating with them, and relating to them has truly taught me so much. It has helped to shape the way I view the world.

-What would surprise people about your education and profession?

It might surprise people how much those in the nursing profession truly care about our patients. Time and time again I witness nurses going above and beyond to help their patients in various ways. We grieve when you grieve, and we oftentimes take those emotions home with us. Some experiences with patients change us. We don’t just act like we care; we truly do.

-What advice would you give to any interested in pursuing nursing and NP?

Take it one step at a time. One degree at a time, one year at a time, one semester at a time. Looking at the whole picture can feel extremely overwhelming, especially considering how tough these programs are. If you break it down and focus on the present, you can do anything! Just keep in mind why you wanted to pursue this career in the first place. Frequently going back to your “why” will help to give you perspective as well as fuel you to keep going.

Samantha works in North Kansas City, Missouri and has three children with her husband, Christian. The Sosa family also includes a German Shepherd and a Siamese cat. It’s a full house! When she isn’t working, studying, or spending time with family, Samantha loves to tap into her artistic side. She enjoys crafting and DIY projects. She also is constantly consuming new books and tending to her outdoor garden when the weather permits.

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