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Nursing student Heather Shoup with her husband, Brian, and sons Carter and Braden.

Nursing student Heather Shoup with her husband, Brian, and sons Carter and Braden.

Nursing student Heather Shoup, with sons Carter (center) and Baden, on the first day of clinical rotations.
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Publish Date: 08/07/14
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Nursing Grad Had 'Amazing Journey' Not Without Struggle

When Heather Shoup began her master’s in nursing at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing two years ago, she never would have imagined the ups and downs she’d face along the way.

The Dayton, Ohio, native chose UC’s online adult nurse practitioner program because of its reputation and flexibility, and that flexibility came in particularly handy for Shoup, a mother and wife who maintained a 30-hour-per-week schedule as an oncology nurse throughout the program.

Shoup admits her path to nursing nine years earlier was "stepwise.” An associate’s degree to earn her RN, then, later, a bachelor’s to ensure opportunity to advance. A master’s was the logical next step but a two-year commitment seemed daunting.

She taught herself to look at each day as a fresh start, rather than putting focus on the two years that lay ahead. "After all,” she says, "two years were going to come and go regardless. Why not use it to do something for myself?”

Three months into her coursework, Shoup learned she was pregnant with her second son. Lucky for her, his birth timed to the break between her fall and winter semesters. Taking no time off school, Shoup pressed on.

Two semesters later, she encountered a setback when she lost vision in her right eye due to optic neuritis—a diagnosis that puts her at a 50 percent chance of later developing multiple sclerosis. Shoup asked only for a week-long extension to adjust to her new vision. A few months later, she was faced with gall bladder surgery; once again, she took no breaks from school.

"So now ... finally, after so many obstacles, graduation is in sight.”

When Shoup comes to campus for commencement Aug. 9, it will be her first time to UC.

She’s learned to be an advanced practice nurse, but she’s also learned more about herself along the way.

"I've learned that I'm a stronger person than I imagined, and I've been amazed with the amount of people who believed in me long before I believed in myself,” says Shoup. "These life lessons, I suppose, are just as valuable as my degree.”

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