Renee Schweitzer was the first college graduate in her family. Now, after earning an associate, a bachelor, a master and family nurse practitioner degree, she's the first to a receive a doctorate.
After working as a nurse for 25 years, Schweitzer said the decision to go back to school wasn't easy. Besides keeping up with two active teens, she's also the vice president of university relations at West Coast University.
“There’s never a perfect time to go back to school, so I say go for it, just do it,” she said. “Hopefully I’m an inspiration to my children
Schweitzer received her doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) from Chamberlain College of Nursing.
The DNP program involved an online didactic portion, as well as in-person research, which she conducted at Children’s Hospital in Orange County, a WCU clinical partner. Her research involved organizing a two-day academy for 97 charge nurses and nursing administrators at CHOC, with the goal of providing the charge nurses with formal leadership training.
The academy included eight hours of instruction with 12 presenters from WCU and CHOC, as well as the executive director of the California Board of Nursing. After the instruction, Schweitzer conducted a survey that concluded that the nurses did grow in their leadership skills.
Schweitzer participated in WCU’s tuition reimbursement program for assistance with financing her education.
"I feel like I was very well supported here. I would have never been able to do this outside of West Coast University and without the partnership of a clinical partner as well,” she said. “I feel very valued and important and well-supported.”