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Post University Blog

For teenage Jennifer Hernandez, college was a distant thought. Having grown up in a difficult home situation, Jennifer started working at 15 and almost stopped attending school altogether. “We had a lot of issues at home, so I ended up going to several different high schools,” says Jennifer, who is from Fort Collins, Colorado. She found a program that allowed her to finish high school at her pace and was determined to finish as quickly as possible. Because Jennifer completed the program in three months, much sooner than expected, the school offered her free credits at the community college. “I loved what I was learning and did very well academically. I quickly decided I wanted to further my education.”

Beginning Her Educational Journey

Jennifer explored a mixture of subjects and was intrigued by various career options. She came across an application for nursing school, and the lightbulb turned on. “I had not thought about nursing before, but something about it sounded exciting,” she says. “I wondered if I could get into nursing school but decided to try.” Jennifer applied and was accepted into the nursing program at Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan, Colorado. “I realized nursing was the path for me.”

A Start in Pediatric Home Health Care

Jennifer graduated as a registered nurse in 2018 and started her first job at Aveanna Healthcare as a pediatric home health provider. She later joined another home health agency, serving former nuclear workers, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Her clinical experience in school and real-world experience in home health care reinforced with her that primary care is the area of nursing she most enjoys,  “I wanted to learn and expand my scope of practice to better serve my patients during their health and wellness journey,” she says. “The continuity of care is invaluable. I felt I could make a difference for underserved patients experiencing healthcare disparities.”

Jennifer researched nurse practitioner programs and discovered American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She felt the Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner Specialization program was a great fit and enrolled in 2019.

Figuring Out Her Path Forward

Jennifer took full advantage of the educational opportunities she encountered during her Master of Science Nursing – Nurse Practitioner Specialization program. For her clinical rotation in January 2022, she worked at a bilingual health clinic in Brighton, Colorado, where she saw firsthand the need for bilingual providers and healthcare disparities associated with language barriers. While she still hopes to practice as a nurse practitioner in primary care one day, Jennifer accepted a position in April at Perry Health, a remote, continuous health system for patients living with chronic diseases based out of New York City. To her pleasant surprise, the job at Perry Health has exceeded her expectations.

“I absolutely love this role – we are making a difference every day,” says Jennifer. She excelled in her studies at American Sentinel, graduating in May 2022, with a 4.0 GPA. When the opportunity arise, she is eager to apply her experiences and education as a nurse practitioner. “My goals are to use my knowledge, skills, and bilingual abilities to optimize wellness and improve health outcomes for patients who need it the most.”