Ask any student in the Graduate Nursing Program and they will tell you: the coursework is very rigorous and time-consuming. Some might describe the journey to graduation as “a marathon, not a sprint,” something Amy Patterson decided to enact by running a marathon – her first – during her third year in the USI Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program while working full-time as a nurse.
“I had several people that would look at me in disbelief that I would even attempt to do such a thing while going through my last year of FNP school,” she said. “I have to admit it was challenging at times, especially on those slow long-run Saturdays and then having to study afterward, but it made me stronger, not only physically but mentally as well. Everyone should have a method of relieving stress to stay strong and healthy. I just happened to find mine through running and spending time with my husband.”
Patterson and her husband, James, a former U.S. Marine, both completed the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C. She says she felt “humbled and honored” to have had the opportunity to run alongside both military and civilian runners on a route that included several of the U.S. capital’s famous monuments and sites.
This experience is even more memorable now during this time of COVID-19, as all public gatherings and events are cancelled.
Patterson, the mother of three adult children, works as a registered nurse in the field of quality coordinator/educator at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville's Surgicare, an outpatient ambulatory surgery center. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her job duties have taken a shift towards assisting the administrator, clinical director and managers with the implementation of the many, frequent, and ongoing new safety protocols and measures to keep her associates and patients safe during this trying time.
Completing her academic coursework has also been challenging. “As with many of my fellow USI FNP students, our clinical rotations have been difficult to obtain for this semester with many facilities halting student preceptorships,” she said. “However, the USI Graduate Nursing Program has graciously provided optional clinical opportunities that we may use towards fulfilling a select amount of our total clinical hours required for the program.”
Patterson does have a few other running races on her “bucket list,” but those are on hold now, due to COVID-19 and because she is focusing the majority of her time to completing the FNP Program and preparing to take the nurse practitioner boards in the fall.
“Running has become a tremendous source of enjoyment in my life,” she said. “It has become a new outlet for stress relief, exercise and socialization. I am excited to soon be crossing the finish line of the FNP Graduate Program. And with a new runner's mentality, I am already thinking about my next race, whether that be another marathon or future career opportunity.”
“I am excited to soon be crossing the finish line of the FNP Graduate Program. And with a new runner's mentality, I am already thinking about my next race, whether that be another marathon or future career opportunity.”
– Amy Patterson, RN
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