Healthcare veteran Angel Taylor admits an ulterior motive for earning a doctoral degree.
“I always laugh and tell my husband, Shaun, that the whole purpose is to sign our Christmas cards, ‘Dr. and Mr. Taylor,'” she said, “but it was really to broaden my resume and learn more about nursing.”
Taylor is on track to graduate from the online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Northern Kentucky University in August 2022.
“Nurses are underrated in terms of how big an impact they make,” she said. “I love my job, but I have to finish getting one more degree.”
Now in her fifth year as a primary care nurse practitioner at WinMed in the Cincinnati area, Taylor learned of NKU’s online doctoral program through a Facebook group for Ohio nurse practitioners.
“We all brainstorm,” she said. “I work full-time and have a family, so I wanted something doable. NKU came highly recommended.
“I looked into the program, and I got a call that day or the next. The school representative gave me her name and number and took my questions. It was like talking to an old friend.”
The online format is working out well for Taylor. She and her husband have two adult daughters, Courtney (27) and Kaylee (22).
“It’s manageable and flexible,” she said. “I was on vacation in Mexico recently, and I was able to plan for being out a week by working ahead and staying on top of things. You can do the program around your life. It’s great for working adults.”
Queen City for Life
Taylor is from Cincinnati, where she earned degrees from three different schools while building her career, beginning with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Cincinnati State Technical & Community College in 2009.
Four years later, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mount St. Joseph University, followed by a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati in 2016.
“I went to school to be a Montessori educator, and then life happened,” she said. “I ended up having kids of my own and ran a home daycare so I could stay home with them.
“We were also foster parents for special needs children for 12 years. I was dropping off one of my kids one night when I told my husband that I wanted to go to nursing school. I was 30 years old.”
Taylor enrolled at NKU in September 2020. Even with a lot of real-world experience under her belt, she is seeing more of the big picture of nursing. The Information Technology and Community Nursing course gave her insight into the impact of the field on politics, for instance.
“I saw how some of the nurse practitioners and DNPs have made an impact with the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “I am also taken aback after learning about artificial intelligence in healthcare and global electronic health records.”
The Practicum/Project course taught by Dr. Karen Vietz is Taylor’s favorite in the online Post-Master’s DNP program curriculum.
“Dr. Vietz is a godsend,” Taylor said. “She sends uplifting emails just when I need them, like when I had problems getting my project started because of COVID-19. Any time I have called, she has been compassionate, kind and uplifting.
“The Practicum/Project course is informative and fun. I want to be just like Dr. Vietz when I grow up.”
Even though Taylor works in a specific area of healthcare, the information she has learned in the online doctoral program is valuable.
“WinMed is a Federally Qualified Health Center meant for the underserved,” she said. “There is so much I learned in school that applies to that part of my job.
“I have talked to my chief medical officer before to tell her what I learned in school. This degree is definitely going to make a difference to me.”
As the first person in her family to pursue a doctoral degree, Taylor has a strong support system that includes her friends. With one course left to finish, she is on the home stretch with her family cheering her on.
“They work with me, and they’re flexible,” she said. “We camp a lot, so there are times I have to work on school because I have something due. Sometimes I go to bed early to get up and get my homework done. They’re good about it.”
To celebrate becoming “Dr. Taylor,” she plans to walk the graduation stage at NKU’s commencement ceremony. After that, she looks forward to seeing where the degree will lead her.
“I love my job now, but I know I will branch out,” she said. “I’d like to teach adults at the collegiate level at some point.
“I worked in cardiology when I was at the bedside. There are still struggles in cardiology services with recognition for women — especially women of color. I would like to put those pieces together and see what we come up with. I’ll shake things up at some point.”
For now, Taylor is eyeing the finish line of the online doctoral program. She is happy that she chose to enroll at NKU.
“I would tell anyone considering this program to go for it,” she said. “I recommend it often. If I hear of anyone in the Facebook group who is thinking about going back, I tell them they have to look at NKU.
“You get to meet people, network, learn their experiences and bring back new ideas. NKU has been a great program. It’s flexible, affordable and the staff are personable.”
Learn more about NKU’s online Post-Master’s DNP program.