The quality healthcare that Kudirat Sunmonu’s parents received during their twilight years brought the idea of nursing as a career into the spotlight for the Nigeria native.
“My dream is to move forward to the best of my ability in providing care to the society that needs it,” she said. “I want to make my impact felt positively.”
Sunmonu, who lives in north Houston, is properly prepared to do just that for the remainder of her career. In May 2017, she graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner that she earned online from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Sunmonu, a mother of three, also graduated from the UTA online RN to BSN program three years earlier.
“I worked full time when I earned my [master’s] degree, but because I put in a lot of hours, sometimes I took days off work to focus on the harder courses,” she said. “It was difficult to manage, but I had help from my family and my supervisors at work, so I was able to do it.”
To accommodate the busy schedule for school, Sunmonu changed positions at the Department of Aging and Disability Services before she embarked on the master’s program.
“Some of my friends said, ‘Oh, I don’t think you can do it. It’s too demanding. You have to give up your job to do it,” she said. “But, changing jobs helped a lot. I thought I would have to stop working, but I couldn’t do that financially. My family and my kids provided me with a lot of the support I needed.”
Hello, UTA Online
Sunmonu moved to the United States in 2002. She earned an Associate of Nursing from Alvin Community College to get started on her career path. When she was ready to continue her higher education, she discovered UTA’s online nursing program.
“The UTA online opportunity came at the right moment because it opened a new chapter in my life. It helped make my dream come true. I've achieved one of my long-term goals,” she said. “At that time, I had less flexibility to attend classes; I could not attend on-campus courses once or twice a week. I started considering private universities, but I found that the cost was high compared to what I’m used to. I was looking for online programs, and UTA popped up on my computer screen.”
From there, Sunmonu contacted UTA, spoke with a university representative and liked what she heard about the highly respected nursing program.
“UTA had the courses I wanted and the flexibility, as well,” she explained. “I was skeptical because I had never had a fully online program — I had only taken a class or two online.”
Once she wrapped up the online RN to BSN program, Sunmonu came right back to UTA for the MSN — Family Nurse Practitioner program as a seasoned veteran of online education. She said her favorite course in the latter was NURS 5461: Adult Gerontology Management Across the Continuum of Care.
“My parents were the reason I went into the Family Nurse Practitioner program,” she said. “There are a lot of programs that we need to know how to manage, and that course made it easier and clearer to understand them. That was one of the reasons that I liked it so much.”
Additionally, Sunmonu thoroughly enjoyed the interactions and relationships with her fellow online UTA students.
“We had discussions with different people from different environments sharing their opinions,” she said. “I liked how everybody shared different ideas and perspectives. That helped a lot. I believe I received good value from the program.”
Sunmonu also appreciated the faculty's role in her education experience.
“I have to say a big thanks to the professors at UTA for their diligence in ensuring that each student is equipped to function independently and become a proud alumni," she said.
Ready for the World
Sunmonu is happy to have school under her belt so she can feed her passion for travel. Although she has only visited the United Kingdom, outside of Nigeria and the United States, she plans to change that very soon.
“It’s quite limited so far, but I want to see California, Florida and Hawaii in the United States,” she said. “Now that I am out of school, I want to explore the world as my schedule permits. That’s the plan.”
Especially because she was not able to attend the graduation ceremony for the RN to BSN program, Sunmonu was happy to attend the commencement ceremony for the master’s degree program.
“It was a very good experience,” she said. “I missed the first one because I had to work.”
Although she had to sacrifice a lot of free time and several trips, Sunmonu said the master’s program is well worthwhile, as long as there is a solid plan in place at the outset.
“You have to do your research so you know what you love doing and your ability,” she said. “Always have a back-up plan so in case something fails, you have something to fall back on. Have a good relationship with your friends, family, and your professional colleagues to make sure things will work out positively, the way you want. That’s a very good plan. Even if you know the materials, it’s useless if you don’t have the support.”
Learn more about the UTA online MSN — Family Nurse Practitioner program.
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