Meet Anna Slayton: Nurse and Resilient Leader
If you’ve paused your dream of earning a nursing degree, Anna Slayton’s story may provide the inspiration and encouragement you need to press play on your career and life goals.
The 31-year-old Texas woman earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), her first nursing degree from Walden University, in 2016. She credits Walden’s online nursing school for making earning her BSN degree possible while she continued to work full time and enjoy family life.
“I knew I needed to advance my career, but I wasn’t sure how to balance everything in my life while also going to class in person,” she says. “Thankfully, Walden provided the ability to reach my goals.”
Inspired and energized to continue her studies, Slayton set her sights on earning Walden’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online degree. But the joy over her achievements and career aspirations soon gave way to grief after an unspeakable tragedy.
“On New Year’s Day in 2017, I was at work and about three hours into my shift, I got a call that told me my youngest son drowned in a swimming pool,” she says, her voice breaking. “When my son passed away, I was actually in the middle of my online degree plan at Walden University. And I took a break for a while.”
And then COVID-19 struck. Caring for two COVID-19-positive patients in the “micro-hospital” in which she was working “helped me start to understand the treatment plan and protocols that were unfolding,” Slayton told DailyNurse, which named her a Nurse of the Week in December 2020.1
And so, as the nationwide demand for nurses escalated, she heard and heeded the call to service. “It was just a no-brainer—you go where the mission is,” the resilient nurse leader says. She signed a 21-day contract but ended up staying for 77 days, working in the COVID-19 unit of a long-term care facility.
In 12-hour shifts, often working seven days a week, she treated, supported, and comforted patients, while providing solace to their loved ones as well. She remembers helping a daughter say goodbye to her 80-year-old mother, as the daughter sang to her over the phone.1
Slayton told DailyNurse that helping others through their losses helped her to heal, too: “I’m grateful for the time this journey gave me to heal after the death of my youngest son, Gavin.”1
It also prompted her to re-examine her career goals: “When I was in New York, I changed my online nursing degree plan to my original track of being a family nurse practitioner so that I can take care of kids.” She graduated from Walden in 2020 with her MSN degree and is on the path to becoming a family nurse practitioner.
“Education is not only taught, it’s lived through experience,” she says. “No matter what you have going on in your life, Walden’s going to be able to help you accomplish your dream.”
Walden University is an accredited institution offering online nursing degrees that include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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