Q&A with Nursing Alum Michele O’Connor

Gonzaga offers online programs to help you further your career and achieve your goals in a flexible learning environment. We asked MSN Nursing graduate Michele O’Connor to share her thoughts and experiences about Gonzaga’s Nursing Program and the online classroom.

Q: What is your current job?

A: I am working as a Primary Care Provider with PeaceHealth. I have a patient panel of over 1450 patients. I am in a rural practice but I do have a large network within the organization. I see patients from newborn to 100 years old. I do small surgical procedures in the clinic. I have an evening clinic once a week to serve those that can’t get away during the day.

Q: Why did you choose Gonzaga?

A: I had been reviewing colleges and when I read about the program at Gonzaga I knew it was the place. I think Gonzaga Nursing Program/graduate program is one of the best. My experience on campus as well as the curriculum served me well. I have the highest regard for Gonzaga, those fabulous professors and the preparation they gave me. I love what I do and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to go to Gonzaga.

Q: What was your online learning experience like?

A: The online component was just as valuable as being on campus. Each class appeared to be well thought out and was thought provoking. This generated a great learning experience.  The program was set up to foster interactions with other class mates. When you meet your classmates on campus and then have an online class with them, it opens up communication.

I selected Gonzaga, also, because it was an on campus/online program. Friendships that will last forever and knowing the fantastic staff was a benefit of coming to campus each term. When I was doing my graduate work I worked full time and my triplets were 8 years old to 11 when I finished. The combination program gave me the opportunity to maintain a balance and a chance to get away, where I could focus just on school. The campus is so beautiful. My time with Gonzaga is a cherished memory.

Q: Has your degree made an impact on your job, career, personal life?

A: The impact of the program confirmed my values and ethics in this incredible profession. The professors instilled the awareness of being a part of our patient’s life is to be cherished. To treat each individual with respect and honor. One of my most valued  required reading was in my Ethics class: “How Doctors Think”. It is about listening to our patient’s and what can happen if we don’t. I feel so blessed to be a part of the patient’s lives. I take time to know the patient and their family. I have been with the same group for the past 6 years.

My experience at Gonzaga touched my life. It may sound odd but I truly felt the time on campus was spiritual. The campus and the history of the campus. The quality of the faculty was superb. The dedication required in the program made me work harder and then carried on to my practice. My skill set was broadened and developed, which resulted in opportunity to better serve the community.

Q: Have you found your degree to be a good investment?

A: Worth the investment? Absolutely. I have the best career, rewarding, fulfilling and a wonderful way to serve God. Even with healthcare going the direction it has I keep my eyes on what is most important: the patient and their family, promoting good health and patient investment in their own health.

Michelle graduate in 2008 from the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Program.  She currently resides in Lane County, Oregon. Gonzaga offers many other online programs and nursing tracks. Find out more here.

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