Becky Hamner ’19

Boca Raton, FL

School Nurse, (RN, BSN)

What is your current position?
School Nurse (RN, BSN)

Where are you from?
I am from Colorado but moved to Boca Raton, Florida, two years ago.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a mom, a role model, a scholar and an employee. As a single mom with no family nearby for support, working full time and balancing my children’s busy schedules (one of my kids is a national tennis player; the other plays year-round sports), finding time for school work is tricky. I work hard and sleep very little. My drive stems from my passion for excellence, achievement and love of knowledge. I believe commitment, hard work and grit are the keys to accomplishing goals. My strengths are navigating challenges and leading my kids by example — showing them there is always a way to succeed, even though they may have a hard, long, circuitous path to get there. When people who know about all my obligations hear I am in school, they are often in disbelief. I have so much pride in becoming an example for others. To everyone who asks how I do it, I say, “I know there’s an endpoint; it won’t be forever.” If I can encourage one more person to chase their dreams, it’s all worth it.

Why did you decide to earn your Master of Science in Nursing?
My first degree is in chemistry. I went back to school almost 20 years later for my nursing degree after a major life change, with the notion that nursing is such a versatile profession with many career paths that I would have options if and when I decided to further my career. After moving across the country, leaving a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nursing position in a hospital, and working at a large private school with boarding students from 30 different countries, I realized nurse practitioner was the direction I wanted to take my future. Navigating cultural norms among the boarding students and troubleshooting their “complaints” within the norms of their culture became a fascinating and challenging process, which is very fulfilling for me. I decided to apply for my Master of Science in Nursing in June 2017.

Why did you decide to pursue your degree with Nursing@USC?
USC has been on my dream school list since childhood. My family lives in Southern California, and this is where I grew up spending my summers and holidays. I am a first-generation college graduate and did not believe I could afford or be accepted to a “big-name” school when I first applied to college 25 years ago. I did not have any assistance applying for schools or financial aid when I was young, and therefore did not believe USC could be an option.

Do you attend Nursing@USC part time or full time?
I attend Nursing@USC on a part-time basis.

What excites you most about the program?
I’m most excited by the content of the courses and the quality of the instruction.

Is there a course you have particularly enjoyed? If so, why?
Pathophysiology: The faculty teaching my session is so phenomenal, I have signed up for another class with the same instructor. She is genuine, engaging, responsive and extremely intelligent.

In your opinion what is the best thing about earning your MSN online with USC?
Prior to taking courses, I would have said it is the reputation of the school. After taking courses I would say the quality of the instruction.

Tell us about your on-campus intensive (OCI) experiences.
Collaborating with peers across the country from all disciplines of nursing and backgrounds has been such a gratifying experience. I feel like there is so much to be learned from sharing information across different areas within our field. Others’ work experiences can help broaden my knowledge as well as give me insight into hurdles others have navigated to succeed in their roles within the nursing profession.

Is there a particular professor or faculty member that you have especially enjoyed working with?
Elizabeth Bamgbose

After graduation, what is next for you?
My daughter laughs at me while shaking her head when I tell her after this degree I may get my doctorate or go to law school. Of course, I will spend time working as a nurse practitioner as well.

What else should we know about you?
Over the years I have been an employee, married to a business owner, helped build a business and helped open a business. Throughout these diverse experiences I have built my own cultural belief, in relation to the success of business, which I believe crosses professions. I believe it is common to have a workforce of people who all have something to offer a company, yet it is up to the employer to create a culture of curiosity in the workplace to maximize the abilities and talents of individuals and diminish the weaknesses gap. It is my unwavering opinion USC has used this culture of curiosity to strengthen the nursing profession, as a whole, by cross-linking paths between nursing and sociology, thus creating a solid foundation to emulate an enhanced nursing model which will ultimately benefit the future of nursing care we provide our patients. This is only one of many reasons I am extremely proud to be a USC Trojan!