The average nursing student is not a mother of three, but Stormy Carter proves that school and life can be balanced.
“You can do it,” Carter said. “Everyone thinks they can’t, that they don’t have enough time, but you will be surprised how much you can manage in a day if you want something… You can find balance and manage it.”
Carter began her nursing career with an associate’s degree from Fort Scott Community College in 2012 and graduated from Pitt State with her bachelor’s in nursing in 2014.
“I always knew I wanted to continue my education…” she said. “I always knew I wanted to continue on and become a nurse practitioner.”
Carter is currently in her final semester of the bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) to doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) program. She is part of the first cohort of students to graduate in the program that began in 2016.
“When I graduated with my bachelors in Pitt, they were actually getting rid of the (master’s of science in nursing) degree… so the master’s for nurse practitioners and were starting… the development of the DNP program,” she said. “So that gave me about a year off (of school).”
Carter said she knew the application process for getting into the BSN to DNP program would be very competitive, so she initially sent out three applications, one to Pitt State, one to the University of Kansas, and one to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. When she was accepted to Pitt’s program as one in the first cohort, she was excited.
“Initially it was really exciting because it was really competitive and there were a lot of people applying for it,” Carter said. “So, it was exciting to be accepted. The eight of us that are in this first cohort… I think we’ve all become very close.”
In addition to being a student, Carter is the mother of three children and works 24 hours at the Girard Medical Center in the emergency department and 20 hours a week at the college as a graduate assistant (GA) a week.
“There are weeks where I am the best student and the best employee at my job, and am a terrible mother, and then there are weeks where I am the best mother, a terrible student, and maybe not the best employee,” she said.
Carter said she has been managing so long she doesn’t “even know what the hardest part would be.”
“I’m just really good at juggling,” Carter said. “I would say probably time management (is the hardest part) …”
Carter’s children are 11, five, and two. She had the youngest the first semester she began the BSN to DNP program. The program began in June 2016, and her son was born in September of 2016.
“I took a test in advanced pathos, five days after having my son,” Carter said. “It was difficult, but I did not take any time off. I just powered through and finished it.”
Shannon Duncan, another member of the first cohort of the BSN to DNP program, has known Stormy since the beginning of the program in June 2016.
“Stormy is very knowledgeable and very interested in what others have to say,” Duncan said. “She’s willing to learn.”
Duncan said that she admires Stormy for what she does.
“She is very ambitious… (and) it’s quite a lot to tackle,” Duncan said. “She probably has more going on than the rest of us do.”
Carter said that she would not be able to achieve any of what she does without the support of her family.
“I have great support from my husband and he tends to caretaker for the kids since I’m usually busy with everything else,” Carter said. “I have a great family support at home, and if it were not for my husband… who what seems like overnight became the dad who takes the kids to all the activities, cooks the meals, does the laundry, and then my sister and my family. If I did not have all that extra support, I would not be able to do what I’m doing right now.”
Carter hopes that after she graduates in May, she can find a local job.
“I would like to find a job in the area…. If not, relocation may be in my future,” she said. “I’d move anywhere, I’m game for travel.”
Overall, Stormy Carter believes she has found a balance in her life as a mother, student, and worker.
“…I want to be a good mom, I want to be a good student, I want to be a good employee, and I can do all three, but you just have to work really, really hard…” Carter said.