Bronco Spotlight: Sharon Long
Assistant Professor Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner at Davenport University
I teach nursing to undergraduate students at Davenport University at the Warren Campus (just north of Detroit). I have been there 8 years teaching pharmacology, nutrition, health assessment, evidence-based nursing practice and a variety of lab classes. I work with the students as their advisor for the Student Nurses Association, which does fundraising, community service, mentoring and networking on the campus and in the community. I serve on several university committees. I, also, work as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) one day a week at Village Health Urgent and Family Care. There, I precept Master's of Nursing students who are pursuing their FNP certification and Physician Assistant students.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
Rewarding is seeing the senior nursing students and the practical nursing students graduate and get their nursing pin. Even more exciting is having them pass their boards and come back to visit and tell us all about their new jobs. Challenging is keeping nursing students engaged in studies. I teach mostly first year students, and they are shocked at how hard nursing school is. So keeping the motivated that they can do it is a challenge.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
Networking with classmates and staying in touch with professors is the most important. We all need support when we are in school - even for someone who teaches at the college level. Having a core group of friends to support you, struggle with you and rejoice with you is very important. I was not on campus - I live over 3 hours away - those connections are SOOOO important. Reaching out for resources is important. Do not be embarrassed if you do not know something - find out the answer, make calls, send email. You are paying for this support. Your instructors want you to be successful, but you have to work for it and be motivated. Also, stay organized and set small goals. One by one you will make it. A big factor that pushed me through dissertation was the Dissertation Cafe' offered by the Graduate College. I took advantage of it 2 summers in a row - and got to write and focus which was a BIG push and motivator.
What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college?
Because I am trained as a nurse, you have to be successful in passing your boards. They work, make some money, go on trips, pay off loans, buy a car - take some time for yourself and your family and learn to be a nurse. How to really care for patients. From those experiences, you will figure out if you want to go on for a Master's degree in nursing or in another field. Graduate school selection is wide open for a nurse - you are never stuck.