When Terrance Peterson was a teenager, he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up. But when someone mentioned the idea of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) after high school, Terrance liked the sound of it. He soon enrolled in a CNA program. After graduating in 2013, he started working at Coosa Valley Medical Center, an acute care hospital in Sylacauga, Alabama, not far from where he grew up.
Terrance’s first job was working on the Alzheimer’s floor. A few years later, he transitioned to the emergency department of the hospital. “That’s when I really got interested in becoming a nurse,” he says. “I was watching them do such an important job and it encouraged me to go that path myself.” Terrance went back to school for an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), graduating in 2019.
Driven to Keep Climbing
Once Terrance became a nurse, he knew he wanted to also become a Nurse Practitioner. “I thought, ‘I can help more people by being a provider, and I want to go as far as I can,” Terrance says. “I started researching Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs because I knew I needed to start there, and I actually started at another school before I found American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University. The other program did not fit me well. But when I got to American Sentinel, I heard only positive things and really liked the look of the BSN program.” Terrance earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May 2022.
No Break on the Journey
With a supportive employer in Coosa Valley Medical Center, Terrance decided not to stop between his BSN and starting his Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization. at Post University. “I didn’t want to lose momentum, so I went right into it, starting in May,” he says. Terrance hopes to finish the program by December 2023.
Building Clinical Experience
Terrance continues to gain clinical experience in the emergency department. During 2021, he went part-time and started doing travel nursing. His last assignment ended in April 2022. “I really enjoyed working in new places and in different clinical areas,” he says. Terrance also likes that he’s been able to continue his education despite a hectic, unpredictable schedule. “Doing the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization online is so convenient, and you can work on coursework whenever and wherever you need to. I have to stay organized and schedule school around my work, but I really like the convenience.”
Focused on School and the Future
Right now, Terrance’s focus is putting as much effort into the master’s program as possible while continuing to do a great job at work. “My director really appreciates that I can bring experiences from school and my travel assignments back to the ER,” he says.
As for what the future holds, Terrance is open to opportunities in mental health or as a nurse practitioner at American Sentinel, where he is also a student ambassador. He’s focused on applying his new knowledge and experience to situations in the emergency room and might add the MSN with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialization once he’s finished with his main course work. One day, he wants to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice. “That’s more of a personal goal because I know it would give me more research knowledge in the field so I can be an even better nurse,” he says. “This is a really supportive University, with helpful professors and awesome advisors. I would definitely come back for another degree.”