When Dr. Chinazo Echezona-Johnson ’13 began coursework for her Doctor of Education (EdD) in 2009, she was working as a charge nurse at the Senator Garrett W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey and as a home-care consultant with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Throughout her 20-year nursing career, she observed that many potential healthcare students were facing barriers to acquiring a quality education, such as stringent entry requirements and outdated clinical and classroom resources. This inspired her quest to advance healthcare education. Dr. Echezona-Johnson—who will walk across the stage to formally accept her degree in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 31—shares how her desire to improve nursing education and training inspired her to enroll at Walden University.

Why did you choose to pursue your doctorate?
When I received my basic nursing degree in 1993, it never occurred to me that I would eventually want to educate other people to achieve the same skills. After more than 20 years of practicing nursing, I realized that I have a passion: I enjoy contributing to the education and training of healthcare professionals. After researching ways to pursue this passion, I decided that I needed a higher degree to prepare me for these new challenges.

Why did you choose to attend Walden University?
When I decided to undertake a doctoral program, I wanted the opportunity to learn from the leaders in the field of education and other disciplines. I was attracted to Walden because of its mission and values—and for the caliber of its faculty. I was also very impressed by Walden’s belief in using education as a means to effect global social change.

What challenges did you encounter while earning your degree?
I anticipated that the doctoral journey would be full of challenges due to personal and professional obligations. However, I knew that without hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, my desire to advance the field would not be realized. While completing my doctoral study, my committee members were my biggest supporters. They refused to let me give up.

What was your proudest moment?
With the help of my family, friends, and a great committee, I was able to complete my doctoral study and graduate. My creativity, commitment to evidenced-based research, and dedication carried me through. I am proud to say that I am graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

What advice do you have for your fellow students?
It is not easy, but when you finish, you will be confident and knowledgeable. Be ready to work hard. It will be worth it!

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