It was by chance that Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) student Jennifer Lovato discovered she enjoyed teaching.
After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from UNM in 2002, Lovato entered the UNMH Nurse Residency Program to explore opportunities as an ER nurse.
"I was interested in being in trauma and the nurse residency program was a great way to learn more about that field," said Lovato.
Lovato’s career path took a sudden turn though when she needed to move to Taos to help her sick grandfather. While there, she obtained a nursing contract with Holy Cross Hospital, but was eventually sought after to fill a different role.
"A community college in the area needed a clinical instructor for its associate degree nurses," said Lovato. "Since I had my BSN, they asked me to be the instructor. At first, I wasn’t sure if I could teach, but once I settled in, I learned that I really enjoyed it."
From that moment on Lovato knew she wanted to pursue a career as a nurse educator and moved back to Albuquerque to earn her MSN in Nursing Education. She was also brought back full circle when she took a nurse educator position with the UNMH Nurse Residency Program.
"Being a first-year resident can be overwhelming," said Lovato. "I remember that feeling and I think that helped me relate to the residents and effectively teach them."
Where is she now?
Before graduating from the MSN in Nursing Education program in December 2010, Lovato had already set her sights on being a part of the UNM College of Nursing faculty as an instructor in the simulation lab. Today, you can find Lovato fulfilling her passion, teaching nursing students through the use of simulated patients as a lecturer and simulation coordinator for the UNM College of Nursing.
"Wanting to be a nurse is wanting to be a lifelong learner," said Lovato. "There is always something new to learn in this field. I put myself in the shoes of the learner and think about how I can relate to the students rather than just being the teacher."