Through Miami's Nurse Executive Leadership master's degree program, Scherriea Moultrie is using what she’s learning to map out her future career – one which involves working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within nursing.
Read on to discover Scherriea’s road to nursing, which professors and courses have made the biggest impact, and what she’s learning about the importance of kindness.
What life experiences have led you to pursue nursing?
My grandmother was a nurse. I originally wanted to be a chef, and I went to school for that. But I realized that it took the joy out of cooking. So after I finished that degree, I decided to pursue nursing, so I could be like my grandmother. Plus, I also have always found the human body to be interesting.
Why did you choose the Nursing Executive Leadership track for your MSN?
I want to work in upper leadership at a hospital or facility. I want to be a person that can help with decision making, so I could possibly help out with policies, nursing processes, working with management — things that are not necessarily bedside. I really would like to have a job one day doing something with diversity and inclusion and nursing, or possibly something to address incivility and bullying. That's something that I'm passionate about, and I feel like it's very prevalent in nursing. A degree in Nursing Executive Leadership would help encompass that.
Can you describe a little bit about the incivility and the problems that you're seeing right now in the nursing field?
Nursing is supposed to be a caring profession. That's how the public sees it. So it's unfortunate when we're not caring toward one another. In an environment where you have nurses that are new graduate nurses, or maybe a nurse that's older, or a nurse that's very young — when you have any kind of difference — nurses sometimes like to compete. They may compete to see who's smarter or who has the greater skill set. We should be using these differences to help each other to grow and learn, but instead we're using them to isolate. So I would like to see less of that and more teamwork in nursing.
Do you feel like this discussion around incivility is a frequent topic of conversation among nurses and nursing students?
Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's one of those things that people don't really talk about and kind of keep silent. It just depends on your work culture and where you are in life. I feel like it's a bold thing to make statements about topics like that. And if you're not someone who has experienced incivility or bullying, then you may not understand.
Is it difficult for you to talk about this topic?
No. I just think that we should all be kind to each other and a little kindness goes a long way. You don't know everyone's background. You don't know what their experiences may be. And we shouldn't just count people out because something about them may or may not be different. Just take the time to get to understand someone or at least offer to include them. And I think that goes a long way at work. I think that's something that also goes a long way even at school, whether it's a nursing program or any other program.
What's something that you're getting from your program that you feel like is going to be helpful?
Honestly, I can't pick one thing — all of it has been extremely helpful to me.
The diversity and inclusion course really helped with opening my eyes further to viewing our similarities, but there are so many things that are also different about us. It’s about really looking at those differences, paying attention to them, and realizing that we all don't necessarily have the same issue. I can't approach each problem the same way, for everybody.
With my research class, I'm learning to be able to decipher through articles and really see the quality of research. What can I look at that's going to be helpful, can stand on, and say, "this is evidence-based," versus this was just a fluff piece? It's really helped me to dig. That class has been tremendous.
And then my community health class is also helpful. It really got me looking through the lens of the social determinants of health and seeing how, again, different groups of people have different problems and we need to approach things in different ways. How are we caring for everyone versus just caring for one group? And that class also showed us different ways to relay information, different ways to get information.
What else do you feel like your program does well?
I think the program does well with honoring students' life obligations. The instructors have been flexible with assignment dates, and have been creative with the types of assignments. And even though it's online, the instructors are always available. By email, they always get back to you very quickly. And on the phone or on Zoom, whatever you need. I really appreciate that.
Have any of the professors have provided mentorship to you?
Yes. I think all the professors are wonderful. They're all personable and willing to help. They ask things about us, like "how's your day, how are things going, do you have any questions about anything." So I think in a way they all could be mentors of some sort. I have, over the years, actually stayed in special touch with Rhonda Cooper. She's a professor at Miami. She teaches the leadership course for the MSN program. She's especially been helpful with giving her knowledge, because she's done so much in that field of leadership in her past life before she started working at Miami. She's also always very friendly, open, and she's very passionate about what it is that she does. And not that any of the professors do tolerate it, but I know that she also does not like incivility and things of that nature either. She's not the only one, but I'm just saying for this example, she's one I know that also is very passionate about that and has experience with it from her previous jobs from a manager standpoint. So I really do like picking her brain and talking with her. I've talked to her about many things with issues that I've had at my own job, and I just really appreciate being able to have that conversation with her.
If you met someone who is considering an MSN program, and they were considering Miami but they weren't sure, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that Miami is very flexible. All the professors are kind and easy to speak with. I feel like the professors care about the students at Miami and I feel like they want us to succeed – and that's saying a lot. And I also like the class sizes. I don't think that any class I've ever been in has been overly big, so that again makes things more personable. If you want to be in a program where you feel like you're being supported, then come to Miami.