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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jennifer Evans, Summer 2015

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jennifer Evans, Summer 2015
Western Governors University
<p>Growing up, Jennifer Evans of North Ogden, Utah, wanted to be a truck driver. Then, a compassionate nurse who cared for her at a low point in her life changed her perspective, changed her plans—and changed her life. Today, Jen has a master's degree in Nursing thanks to her own dedication, the inspiration of that nurse all those years ago, and WGU. She shared her story at WGU's August 2015 commencement ceremony, held on August 15 at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.</p> <p>Jennifer Evans earned her Master of Science, Nursing - Leadership and Management degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Today it is an honor to speak in front of students, fellow graduates, distinguished guests, my family, and Dr. Charles Sorensen, the CEO of Intermountain Health Care, a company I am very proud to work for.</p> <p>Throughout my life, I have at times doubted by ability to achieve my dreams. As a kid I wanted to be a truck driver. It's funny, you can laugh. [Laughter] But it's also true. I thought it would be a great adventure. But that was not my true calling. I was fortunate that the day before my 17th birthday, I met the woman who would inspire me to seek a career in nursing.</p> <p>I remember her kindness, her gentle approach, and the words that she spoke to me. I had just given birth to a child that I would not keep. For the previous nine months I had been treated with indifference or disdain. Yet this nurse took the time to see me as a person of worth, and I will never forget the words that she spoke to me. "I am so proud of you." Her kindness gave me strength, and I believed that I could do more, that I could be more. To this day I look back at the impact she had on me that day.</p> <p>In high school I took a nursing assistant class and was fortunate to have a wonderful teacher and mentor who showed me how great nursing was and the many things I could do as a nurse. After high school, I worked towards completing my prerequisites for nursing school. By the time I was accepted into a program, I was married, working, and had a one year old son. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. Thankfully, my husband, Scott, told me that I could, and more importantly, he told me that I had to. In fact, he refused to marry me unless I promised that I would continue my education. [Applause]</p> <p>Scott Evans, I just want you to know that not only are you the best thing that ever happened to me, you're my best friend, and I'm looking forward to the next 20 years. [Applause]</p> <p>By the time I graduated nursing school, we had our daughter, and I believed I had achieved all that I could. Fast forward three years and my friend at work was telling me that she was going to apply for a position in the cardiac ICU, and that I should join her. I wasn't sure if I had what it took, but she kept encouraging me until I applied. To my complete surprise I was hired. I found myself outside of my comfort zone, and learning so many new things. As an ICU nurse I was encouraged to take a national exam for critical care nurses. I wasn't sure if I was quite smart enough to pass this test. But by now I was figuring out that I was maybe capable of more than I had given myself credit for, so I tried and I passed. [Applause]</p> <p>Then they asked me to be a charge nurse. I accepted the challenge despite my fears, and to my complete relief, they never fired me from that role. They maybe should've. [Laughter] In 2009, my friend convinced me we should go back to school and become nurse practitioners together. The first step was going back to school for my bachelor's degree in nursing, but after graduating in 2011, life had other plans for me. These plans included becoming a nurse educator, and then two years ago, a manager in a very busy ICU.</p> <p>When I became a nurse manager, I had not given up on becoming a nurse practitioner, but I knew it limited my ability to achieve my goal. As I looked at my options I was so happy to discover Western Governors University. WGU allowed me to work, spend time with my family, and be successful in my studies towards my master's degree in nursing. I was in a new position where I was learning many new things and instead of being an additional burden, the courses at WGU augmented what I was learning at work, and provided me resources in order to be successful.</p> <p>I wasn't sure how long it would take me before I reached the finish line, but every step of the way there was my student mentor, Pam, and many course mentors to guide and cheer me along. And now, thanks to my MSN degree from WGU, I know I am capable of taking on the many opportunities that lie before me, including still pursuing my nurse practitioner degree.</p> <p>Throughout my life I have often found myself being challenged to do more, and to stretch myself beyond my own perceived abilities. I am thankful for every person who has inspired, challenged, and supported me along the way. I try to give back my encouraging others to believe in themselves, to see that they are capable of doing more, whether it is being a charge nurse, going back to school, or attaining the national certification for their nursing specialty.</p> <p>Time is a cruel friend because she does not care what we are doing, what our plans are, or what obstacles we think are in our way. She will continue to march on without regard to whether or not we are ready. It is up to us to take the opportunities before us and move forward one step at a time. Success is a journey that is wrought with challenges and sometimes requires doing something that we don't think we are capable of.</p> <p>Humans are amazing, and capable of so much more than they give themselves credit for. I challenge you to encourage, and inspire those around you, including yourself. I know you can do it. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)