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Brittney King and Mother at graduationBrittney King is a native of Evansville and graduate of Reitz High School. She graduated from USI with a degree in nursing in 2016. She currently works at an IV therapy clinic and PRN at Ascension St. Vincent in the med-surge float pool and is a student in USI’s BSN to DNP Program.

From a young age, King had experience with caregiving and the nursing profession. Her father, Pete, who had type 1 diabetes and was frequently hospitalized, died when she was only 11 years old. Then, in 2007, when she was a senior in high school, her mother, Phyllis, was diagnosed with cancer. These experiences led her to pursue nursing as a major at USI and continue to motive her today to earn an advanced nursing degree.

Q&A with Brittney King

How did your mother inspire you to become a nurse? Dad passed away when I was 11, so it was just me and my mom. She had all kinds of health issues. First, it was pain from having multiple sclerosis. Then, when I was in high school, she was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. She had a tumor removed on her left kidney that was the size of a football. It was encapsulated, so it was a good thing that it had not spread. After that she was good, and I started college at USI as a pre-nursing major. When I was accepted into the nursing program, Mom was always my push. When I would get discouraged, or that one time I failed a class, she pushed me and knew I could do it.

Where did you work after graduating from USI? My first job as a new graduate was at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Louisville. I lived in Louisville for five years before moving back to Evansville in 2022 to care for my mother.

Describe your mother’s cancer journey: In 2019, when I was still living and working in Louisville, a bump popped up on my mom’s sternum, and then there was another spot in her eye socket. Doctors said it had metastasized from the renal cell carcinoma. She went through chemo and radiation. I started doing travel nursing so I could help pay her medical bills. When her health declined rapidly, I moved back home to take care of her. Caring for her in her last days is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. She passed away on March 11, 2023, but I know she is no longer suffering.

Why did you decide to enter USI's BSN to DNP Program? I thought for a long time I didn’t want to go back to school. But after my mom died, I started thinking about getting my DNP. It was as if it was Mom telling me I needed to do it. USI taught me how to care for my mother, and that is something I will always be grateful for. What I learned about patient advocacy and nursing in general helped me in many situations while caring for my mom. I always had a positive experience with the instructors at USI. Gina Schaar was an amazing advisor, and all of the faculty had such understanding for students. They took in account that people have lives outside of school, and if they couldn’t help you, they knew someone who could. They went above and beyond. That’s why I wanted to come back to USI to get my DNP. USI gave me a strong foundation, and now I want to add to that. If someone is interested in nursing, every time, I would encourage them to choose USI.

Learn more about USI's BSN to DNP Program.

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