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Nurses Week Feature, College of Nursing Grad Overcomes Hardships

Jasmine Terrell, an RN from Indianapolis, had always dreamed of being a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner so she could provide quality care to children. When Terrell hit the submit button on her DNP application in 2017 she had no idea how much her life would change as she began to chase her dreams.

“Being a graduate student is no small task. It’s well known that its requirements are meant to push you into your best self,” said Terrell. “I would have laughed if someone told me what my life would look like by the end of this program!”

Terrell faced several big life changes over the course of her 3 years in the DNP program. Terrell got engaged, got married, moved across state lines twice, had a career change, and welcomed a baby girl into the world.

“Life has a way of happening whether you’re ready or not,” said Terrell. “Although these changes were all huge blessings, they didn’t come without challenges.”

During what was supposed to be the happiest time of her life Terrell received some devastating news. Three days before her wedding Terrell got the call that her sister had passed away from stage four glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer.

Terrell also suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety following the arrival of her baby girl.

Among all of the other challenges Terrell was facing in March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. “I came back from maternity leave and two weeks later, COVID-19 hit,” said Terrell. “There was nothing it didn’t impact-  my job in the Pediatric ICU, my family, my clinicals, and my doctoral project.”

Terrell continued to persevere despite everything she was facing.

“So many times I questioned my skills, wanted to quit, take a year off, and try again another time. Instead, I chose to stay,” said Terrell. “I stayed because I knew God would not bring me this far to stop now. I stayed because I wanted to make my family proud, as well as myself. I stayed because I wanted to keep the promise to myself that I would provide safe, effective, quality care for children in a more advanced way than I had been able to before. It was not the easy choice but I remained resilient and saw it through to the end.”

Terrell will finally get to cross the stage in May and receive her DNP degree with a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner license.

Terrell’s goal is to help children live their healthiest lives, and improve their wellness while decreasing health disparities. “This degree was what I have always dreamt about,” said Terrell.

Following graduation, Terrell will take the boards to work as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care in Nashville, TN.

“My faith, amazing support system, and encouraging professors and peers helped me to get to this day and I couldn’t be more proud of myself,” said Terrell. “My largest obstacles have truly become my biggest victories. I pray that all graduate students continue to fight for their dreams no matter what obstacles they face. If you have made it this far, it is for a reason.”

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CONTACT:

Kara Clark (865-974-9498, kmclark2@utk.edu)