Online Nursing Student Hopes to Help the Homebound
December 2, 2011 – Melissa Pridemore (G'12) plans to deliver care to homebound patients in rural Texas after she graduates with a master’s degree through the online nursing program at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.
A resident of the state, Pridemore is studying to become a family nurse practitioner, and is among the first students participating in the online program, which began in March 2011.
“I love the philosophy of keeping nurses in the areas where they live,” she says. “The future of nurse practitioners involves serving people who have been traditionally underserved or live in rural parts of the country.”
As a practicing nurse, Pridemore has specialized in geriatric care at a cardiac specialty group.
She decided to earn an advanced degree after witnessing the difficulty many patients have accessing the health care system.
“Working in the home health industry with rural populations, I was able to see what a tremendous amount of need there is for people who cannot access traditional health care,” she explains. “That is what drew me into wanting to become a nurse practitioner.”
She says she chose Georgetown’s program because of its mission, flexibility and quality.
“I really liked what the school stood for – its mission statement and Jesuit background,” she says. “I also liked the flexibility of the program. I brag about it to all of my nursing colleagues. It’s very state-of-the-art.”
Pridemore says she has formed a close relationship with her NHS classmates and professors because of the interactive learning management system, which includes live video seminars featuring a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
“You really get to know your instructors and your classmates,” she says. “Having that small group type of setting and that one-on-one personalized attention has been great.”
She added that having a student population from all over the United States adds to the overall online educational experience.
“The passion for nursing is the same across the board,” she notes. “But your life and professional experiences vary. In a program with students from across the country, you are exposed to a lot of perspectives you might not otherwise see.”
Helping the Homebound
Pridemore says that she ultimately wants to open a nurse practitioner-run clinic that will serve homebound patients in rural Texas.
“Online learning is the wave of the future,” she says. “If I didn’t see this program, I don’t know that I would have gone on to become a nurse practitioner. It definitely has opened the door for people who might not have had the opportunity to get a quality education like this.”