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Drawing Motivation From Youthful Healthcare Experiences
From the beginning, Misty Queen knew her purpose in life was to serve and provide for those in the New River Valley who needed her help the most. “Being from a rural area while I was growing up, healthcare was difficult to access. My parents never graduated from high school, so my family did not make a lot of money.” She described being sick when she was younger and going to doctors, but not being seen because her family did not have the money. “We were turned away,” she said. These childhood experiences fueled a strong desire within her to ensure healthcare becomes accessible for those who most need it, no matter their ability to pay.
Queen grew up in Christiansburg, Virginia, not far from Radford University, where she also received her undergraduate nursing degree. Currently, Queen is pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a concentration in Family Nursing Practice. According to Queen, this degree involves dealing with patients from babies to the elderly as a family nurse practitioner. While she focuses on preventative care and managing chronic conditions, her degree involves treating patients from all backgrounds.
After Queen graduated as a registered nurse (RN), she went straight into emergency room nursing at nearby LewisGale Hospital Montgomery. When asked what she would be doing if she had not been accepted into the DNP program, her response was quick and emphatic. “I would still be nursing and probably working at the ER department. If I was not accepted the first time, that would not deter me the second time. I had that goal in sight to help my community.”
“I enjoy helping people and I think everyone deserves healthcare. I wanted to go beyond that scope and be the provider, so I came back to get my doctoral degree. I am training to help people manage their diseases and get prescribed the medicines the need to get well,” she explained. The reason she chose Radford to pursue a higher degree in nursing was because “nurses come out well prepared and it is in my backyard!” Queen also cites a great support system of numerous professors during her years as an undergraduate, including Dr. Anthony Ramsey, Dr. Eunyoung Lee, Dr. Erin Cruise, Dr. Kate Brennan, and Dr. Suellen Miller. Additionally, she expressed gratitude to Dr. Iris Mullins for granting her "opportunities for new experiences in nursing.” Dr. Mullins was Queen’s nominator for Graduate Student of the Month.
As a second-year student in the program, Queen has a few key stress-reduction techniques she relies on to get her through the long hours. “Praying and crying and meditation. It makes you feel better. Gets it all out of your system,” she quipped. Despite the long hours, she said the thing she will miss most about being a student is the youth of her fellow classmates. “I am an older student and even in undergrad I was older than my peers. Being around them brings energy and excitement. I will miss being around that atmosphere of youth,” she explained. Queen also has excellent advice for future students thinking about enrolling in the DNP program. “Have all your ducks in a row before you start. Make sure you have time management skills and the discipline needed for an online program. The first two years are online, and once you start in the clinical setting you will need that background,” she emphasized.
Queen is clear about how she perseveres through Radford’s grueling DNP program. “Being able to see the end point where I can be the provider for those patients struggling to get treatment. That is why I started. I can be that bridge,” she said. With only two short years standing between Queen and graduation, she is excited to be that bridge between low-income patients receiving adequate healthcare when she graduates in May 2020. As for future plans, Queen said she wants to improve healthcare in rural communities. “I accepted an Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) Grant to work with underserved rural areas. When I finish the program, I want to provide access to people that are like I used to be when I grew up. I don’t want to turn anyone away because they cannot pay for it,” she said.