March Nurse of the Month, Dr. Evelyn Okunoghae has been in school for over half of her entire life; starting out with a degree as an LVN all the way to a Doctorate Degree in Nursing Practice!
My name is Evelyn and I currently work as a clinical provider at Children’s Health Dallas. I have a doctorate degree in nursing practice (DNP). My specialty is family practice, however my sub-specialty is pediatrics. I have been a Nurse Practitioner since 2008, prior to that I was a Registered Nurse for about 5 years, LVN for about 2 years and PCT (Patient Care Technician) for about 2 years. So I have been opportuned to work at different nursing capacities for almost 2 decades. Prior to my nursing journey, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health from University of Benin, Nigeria. So yes, I have been in school for more than half my entire life! I have been blessed with 3 beautiful teenage children.
Name: (and age) Dr. Evelyn Okunoghae, DNP, FNP-C (42 years young)
Years working as a nurse: 15 Years (7+ Years as Advanced NP)
Current Position: Clinical associate as an Advanced NP in a Pediatric Hospital
What brought you into the nursing profession? When I had my first daughter, the nurse at my bedside was very compassionate and ensured I was very comfortable, contrary to the health care arena I grew up in in Nigeria. Needless to say, I was not only grateful but I got drawn into becoming like this very nurse who took care of me years later.
Where did you get your nursing degree? Delmar College, Texas A & M and Texas Woman’s University.
First RN/LPN position (and how you got it… we’ve all been there!): My first LVN position was in a med/surg and Telemetry unit, occasionally floating to the Cardiac unit. I was hired by the facility right out of school around my graduation. A couple of years thereafter, I went back to my first love in Dialysis as an RN. I first started working with dialysis patients as a PCT and I absolutely loved it. As an RN, I worked there for about 5 years, as a charge nurse and clinical care coordinator.
Random fact /hobby: I like shopping, traveling, listening to music and watching TV. I also like writing and mentoring students. I like challenges, keeps my adrenaline going.
Biggest career challenge and how you’ve overcome it (or how you are currently working to overcome!): Opening up my own practice, for years, I was fearful of not succeeding in the business aspect of my career. But once I have developed the interest, I am ready to step out of my comfort zone.
Any projects on your desk right now? I like to see students metamorphose from that novice stage to “the learned” graduates. I would love to be a part of that process. I’m currently looking for a part time teaching nursing job. I currently also enjoy precepting students. It’s amazing to see the transformation once they first walk through the doors and how much they learn thereafter.
Do you have a blog or website you would like us to feature? I currently guest blog at HireNurses.com and Preceptor Pad on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1432840047038805/?ref=br_tf)
What item is most useful to you as a nurse? (What piece of equipment or clothing could you NOT do your job without?) Chloraceptic wipes. I like to clean my work space before the day begins and clean my “work tools” such as my stethoscope after the day’s work, before storing them away 😉
Do you have a fondest memory or favorite nursing experience? Haaaa!! Shortly after I started working in dialysis, I occasionally pooled to a long term care rehab floor. I particularly remember taking care of a patient that needed I.V started. Not to tout my own horn, I’m usually good in starting IVs. On this fateful day, after 2 attempts, I couldn’t get it. I needed just one more attempt per the facility policy, before I can no longer try so to speak. I stopped after the second try, took a deep breath, to reassess why the cannulated vein, was not beaming with blood. OMG! Then it dawned on me, I was actually cannulating the vein away from the heart (like a vascular access for dialysis)! I redirected the needle, and voila, the flow of blood! I will never forget!!
What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to become a nurse, a student nurse, a new graduate or a seasoned nurse who has helped you along the way?
Keep learning, my motto is learning doesn’t cease until one is literally 6 feet under. Also, whatever, you aspire to become, take one step at a time, with the right attitude, right energy and hard work, shortly you will achieve your goal.