Inspired to Help: Doctor of Nursing Practice Graduate Strives to Educate the Next Generation

LaReine Smith chose nursing as her career path after high school because she enjoys assisting others.

“I didn’t think about it when I was younger, but as I’ve progressed in my career and gotten older, I’ve realized that what I enjoy most is helping patients who are at a vulnerable point in their lives and need a good support team,” says LaReine, who grew up in Dover, Ohio.

LaReine began her nursing career in the operating room at Aultman Health Foundation after earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1989. She stayed for 27 years, pursuing her passion.

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Educating the Next Generation

LaReine recognized an area where she could continue to make a difference in her nearly three decades as a nurse. “I worked with and trained many new nurses, and I realized we could do a better job of preparing them to think critically and care for patients,” she says. She followed her instincts and enrolled in Wilkes University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN Education program, graduating in 2018.

LaReine embarked on a career as a nurse educator after earning an MSN. She worked as an adjunct professor at Hondros College of Nursing and Kent State University before discovering Herzing University in December 2018.”It was an adjustment to figure out how to be an educator, but I really enjoyed everyone I’ve worked with and all of the students I get to teach,” she says.

Furthering Her Education with a Doctor of Nursing Practice

LaReine decided to continue her education in 2019. “I don’t intend to retire any time soon, and when you look around at schools hiring nursing faculty, it’s clear you need a doctorate,” she says.

She began her investigation and came across the American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University. “American Sentinel’s staff was welcoming and the Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership Specialization seemed like a great program where I could be successful.

I was looking for a clinical degree that would complement my nursing education.” LaReine began the program in December 2019.

A Relevant Capstone Project

“Does an Educational Intervention Impact Associate Degree Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Textbooks?” was LaReine’s capstone project.

“I wanted to investigate the value of textbooks for students,” she explains. LaReine’s DNP advisor was a staunch supporter throughout the process. “Dr. Brenda Helmer believed in me and frequently reminded me that my project was valuable.” LaReine will complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership Specialization in December 2021.

Felbry College School of Nursing

LaReine applied right away when an online teaching position opened up at Felbry College’s School of Nursing. She was hired in April 2022 and is overjoyed. She teaches students who are licensed practical nurses, associate degree nurses, and bachelor of science nurses. “These are some of the most polite students I’ve ever met; they soak up information and are eager to learn,” she says.

LaReine hopes to teach at the graduate level one day. She feels good about her efforts to help her profession, no matter where she is or what level she is at. “Overall, I’m glad I chose American Sentinel, and I thank everyone I met there and along the way,” she says.”I like giving back and I’m glad to be working for an institution that really cares about its students. “I’m excited about the future.”

 

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