Tasha Ellsberry

March 2014 Cohort

Jacksonville, FL

Nurse Motivated to Help Veterans

I honestly love being a nurse. Even as a little girl, I always knew nursing was what I wanted to do. I love knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life. When someone needs help and I am able to advocate for them, it is the most fulfilling and rewarding feeling.

I have worked in the medical field for over 10 years — first as a CNA, and then I became an LPN, ADN RN, and finally a BSN RN. Throughout my career, I’ve worked in areas that include acute rehab, dermatology, long-term care, medical-surgical, neurology and traumatic brain injury, and podiatry. Today, I work as a pediatric care coordinator, providing respite care services to medically complex children of active duty military families.

Talk to anyone enrolled in the Nursing@Simmons online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program and you will find we all have our own unique stories and motivations for wanting to take our nursing roles and responsibilities to the next level. Mine starts with my husband.

Having served in the Army for 10 years, my husband was injured during a deployment and subsequently medically retired. Upon his discharge, it was apparent that there were not enough medical providers within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system to provide consistent care. Because of his injuries, I became his caregiver. This led me to realize that veterans need better health care and access to competent providers.

I plan to use the knowledge and skills I gain from Nursing@Simmons to provide caring and compassionate primary health care to military veteran men and women, as well as their families. It’s the least I can do to give back to them for their years of service providing safety and security for our country.

I started the program part time in March 2014. I find the flexibility amazing! I have three school-aged children, a husband, and a nursing career, so flexibility is very important to me. I regularly use the 2SN app to review course content on the go. This allows me to maintain my responsibilities as a student, without missing out on important family events in my life.

The live, online classes are wonderful as well. Seeing my professors and fellow classmates each week makes me feel connected. I have made several close friends from the program and, quite often, we are in the same live classes each week!

The technology makes distance learning both fun and engaging. We are also able to use the platform to hold online study groups. The visual and audio elements make it feel as if we are all seated in the same room — not different parts of the country.

There are many choices out there for furthering your nursing education and becoming an FNP. However, I believe that Simmons is the best choice I could have made. The program is challenging but rewarding. The instructors are top notch and really want to see you succeed in your future role.

If you are considering the Nursing@Simmons online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program, or have already been accepted to the program, connect with us on Facebook. We are a tight knit group of students, and we are happy to talk with you and answer any questions about the program you may have. I have been able to build a network with my fellow classmates, and I can tell you that we will continue to rely on each other as colleagues well after graduation.