"I like to feel a bit “on edge” when my shift begins, in other words, ready to test myself, and push myself to improve every day. Nothing gives greater satisfaction than expanding my knowledge boundaries."
For Amanda Bruno Roberts, the road to nursing has never been a straight line; her path is marked by crossroads and detours. But she believes the most impactful step was her class in phlebotomy as a student in the Medical Laboratory Science program at Northeastern University.
With a subsequent bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Southern Maine, Amanda became the teacher of a phlebotomy class at Northern Essex Community College, a satisfying experience that prompted the pursuit of a master’s degree in Nursing Education from Norwich University.
"My phlebotomy students practiced drawing blood from each other where they learned that veins can sometimes roll or collapse, what color tube each lab test was drawn in, and basic anatomy. Inspired by the exchange of the classroom experience, I was drawn to the education arena. After several subsequent career “detours”, however, I decided to return to full-time clinical work because I love the daily challenge of the acute care setting."
As a girl, Amanda was struck by the health issues of her family’s older generation which sparked her initial desire to learn about medicine. With her mother in nursing school, she watched her study for the board exams and enter pediatrics. Her own daughter - a witness to Amanda’s nursing work and study – now expresses a similar interest in exploring the field.
Currently a nurse with Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Roberts started in the Intermediate Care Unit as a new grad. After leaving to gain ICU experience and teach undergraduate nursing, she returned to work in the Neuro/Trauma Unit. She eventually moved to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab where she assists in a wide range of cardiovascular procedures.
The curriculum provided by the UNH Online Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program has afforded her the knowledge and skills to better understand the medical decisions made by the providers with whom she currently works.
Roberts speaks with energy about the enticing challenge of critical care as she recalls an ICU patient who presented with severe respiratory problems requiring specialized medical treatment in Boston. She agreed to accompany the patient in the ambulance but the conditions could not have been worse; due to a massive snowstorm, the roads were in poor condition and only one transport service was available. Miraculously, the patient survived the harrowing ride and Amanda returned elated by the intense experience and humbled to be trusted with a patient’s life.
Driven by a lifelong compulsion to continuously improve, Roberts enrolled in the online Doctorate of Nursing program. She completed the coursework but stopped short of the final quality improvement project to apply to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program whose curriculum offered an immediate benefit to her work in cardiology. With the AGACNP under her belt, Roberts plans to return to DNP and finish the project, proudly explaining that her daughter will watch her mother graduate twice in two years.
Roberts compliments the UNH instructors for personalizing the online experience and providing support to identify the best fieldwork preceptor to fill her knowledge gaps. She found the discussion board an excellent communication vehicle and the required citations stimulated her to “think outside the box”.
"I love the flexibility of online learning. By dividing my schoolwork into small daily chunks, I could accommodate my work schedule and finish assignments on my own timeline to avoid a crunch from any unexpected interruption. It’s important to be organized because eight weeks go by fast!"
As a counterweight to the demands of work and academic studies, Roberts treasures time with her family who enjoys outdoor activities like running but found a special affinity for glass blowing, a craft that both husband and daughter have come to enjoy.
Whether assisting with a cardiac procedure or creating a glass pumpkin, Amanda never stops searching for ways to add to her band of knowledge and expertise. It is easy to see why Amanda’s teenage daughter says, “I want to be like you, Mom.”
Written by Gwendolyn Goguelet