Divine says a graduate degree in nursing creates numerous career pathways

Allison Divine


Please tell us a little bit about yourself and describe your background in your respective field.

I have been a nurse for 22 years and a nurse educator for almost 19 years. My nursing background included critical care and cardiac step-down. I’ve worked in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. I am a Certified Nurse Educator and I’ve served as a nursing education accreditation site visitor, team chair, and National Review Panel member. I have worked in Henderson’s graduate nursing program since 2019 teaching MSN core courses like Health Policy and Public Health. I also teach many of the Nursing Executive Leadership and Administration courses as well as Nursing Education courses.

What is your favorite aspect of teaching?

I love the fact that earning a degree in nursing is in many instances life-changing for not only the graduate but their family as well. Nursing as a field is broad with so many opportunities for growth and advancement that having that degree creates innumerable career pathways.

Please share something unique about yourself that most people don’t know.

I am a mom to three amazing kids. I know that isn’t unique, but it is the most rewarding part of my life. I also finished two graduate degrees after having kids, so I understand the struggle many of my students experience when trying to juggle work, family, and grad school.

What career paths do students from the graduate courses you teach typically pursue?

An MSN in Nursing Executive Leadership and Administration prepares graduates for a multitude of healthcare leadership roles including clinical nurse manager, director of nursing, director of patient care services, house supervisor, hospital administrator, and chief nursing officer. It is a broad degree that creates numerous career opportunities for those earning it.

An MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner prepares a graduate to care for patients across the lifespan in a primary care setting. Our program prepares our graduates to take a national board certification exam which in turn allows them to apply for licensure as an Advance Practice Nurse in Arkansas.

The Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education prepares nurses for careers in academic and clinical education. There are an abundance of openings for Nurse Educators in Arkansas and our surrounding states.

Why should a student choose Henderson State to pursue a graduate degree?

Our nursing program faculty truly believe in the motto that HSU is the School With a Heart. We strive every day to operationalize that with our students.

What are the ways a graduate degree can enhance a person’s career?

A graduate degree in nursing can increase career opportunities and open doors into fields that may not be expected. Once you hold an advanced degree in nursing opportunities you weren’t even looking for can sometimes fall into your lap.

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about being a professor?

The most challenging aspect of teaching in nursing education is keeping up with the many accreditation requirements and ensuring the curriculum remains current and student-centered.
The most rewarding aspect is when I see one of my graduates working in their new role and loving it.

What advice would you give to students aspiring to seek a graduate degree?

Don’t be afraid to go back to school. It is challenging but it is completely worth it.

How can students make the most of their college experience while studying for their graduate degree at Henderson?

Our programs are all online, so they are designed to meet the needs of working nurses. Henderson offers so many resources to help them be successful in their graduate education experience. The online nursing faculty members go out of their way to meet the learning needs of our students.

Can you please share a brief success story related to your students or experiences at Henderson?

One of my favorite success stories in the MSN program is when we had a mother-daughter duo in the program. The mother was in the MSN Nursing Executive Leadership and Administration track and the daughter was in the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner track. They completed the program together and graduated together.

Who inspires you and why?

My students inspire me because they overcome so many obstacles to complete their graduate degree. Since Covid-19, being a nurse has become so much more challenging and our students are not only in graduate school juggling their life and family responsibilities, they are also working in a healthcare field that is drastically different than it was prior to the pandemic. It takes an enormous amount of inner strength and perseverance for them to complete the program and earn their graduate degree.