BSN Alumna “Always Knew” She Would Come Back for DNP
Major Health Scare Created Love for Nursing
As a patient and a nurse, Cynthia Jones, BSN ’17, DNP ’22, has clarity for her calling in healthcare. Such clarity that the UST alumna returned to St. Thomas, earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in the summer.
Health Scare Changed Her Path
Her road to a career in nursing began in 2010 when the then pharmacy school student began experiencing shortness of breath and the inability to stand for long periods without feeling tired and anxious.
“They located a large tumor behind my heart, involving 19 lymph nodes but all benign,” Jones recalled.
Surgery removed the tumor and required a lengthy hospital stay.
She said, “Being hospitalized for a long period of time catalyzed my desire to help humanity. Nursing chose me. Nursing is where God wanted me to be.”
Discovering A University Aligned with Her Values
The lifelong Catholic from a family of healthcare professionals selected the University of St. Thomas-Houston for her BSN and immediately resonated with the campus ethos.
“Everything about UST is aligned with who I am and my values,” she said, “the atmosphere, the people.”
A Path from Nursing to Healthcare Educator
Over the years, though other health concerns arose — lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple surgeries — Jones stayed the course for her dream of nursing, and her health stabilized.
“I did some bedside nursing at Methodist, then worked as a home health nurse and a nurse client advocate for more than a year,” she recounted. “I began to fall in love with healthcare education as a way to be impactful with my nursing ministry.”
Quenching Her Desire to Understand All Facets of Healthcare
To understand the business part of the field, Jones sought and earned an MBA in Healthcare Management from WGU. For a year-and-a-half, she worked as a healthcare consultant. Then, an opportunity arose for her to teach as a nurse educator for LVN students at Bell Tech Career Institute. She continues there today.
“But I always stayed in touch with UST and still serve as a peer mentor and peer tutor for the masters students at the Peavy School of Nursing.”
Returning to UST for DNP
When she was ready to earn her DNP, there was no question about where she would go.
“I always knew I was highly interested in the DNP program while I was in the BSN program, and I always told them I’d come back,” she said. “It’s about the mentorship we get at UST, the emotional support, the academic support, and the close relationships we have with the professors.”
Looking ahead, Jones plans to continue teaching, open her own home healthcare agency, and start a family.