Becoming a nurse practitioner

Do you want to become a nurse practitioner? Read about how Colten Thewis achieved his career goal.

Becoming a nurse practitioner: Q + A with Colten Thewis

Are you a nurse who wants to level up your career? One way you can do that is by pursuing more leadership as a nurse. Becoming a nurse practitioner allows you to advance and grow in your role as a nurse. Concordia University Wisconsin offers two paths toward becoming a nurse practitioner – family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology nurse practitioner.

Read about Colten Thewis’s experience in Concordia’s online master’s program and why he wanted to become a nurse practitioner.

What made you decide to be a nurse?

With an inherent interest and fascination with the human body and its resilience, I pursued my CNA certification to begin my nursing career. During my CNA training, I had the pleasure of meeting an older adult in a skilled nursing facility who gave me a devotional. This gift was a token of her appreciation for spending ten minutes talking with her after we completed her activities of daily living. This catapulted me to want to influence people’s health and wellness to the greatest capacity I can. As a result of this experience, I realized my interest in the human body. Also, I knew I had the ability to serve others with my skills, which would be best used as a nurse.

What roles have you held in your nursing career?

  • Certified Nursing Assistant-Gundersen Health System: Inpatient Rehabilitation
  • Nurse Technician-Mayo Clinic Health System: Inpatient Neurology/Medical
  • Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse-Mayo Clinic Health System: Inpatient Neuroscience
  • Registered Nurse and Emergency Department Stroke Coordinator-Memorial Medical Center: Emergency Department

What made you decide to go back to school to get your MSN?

Since my first year as an undergraduate, I’ve wanted to pursue higher levels of care in an autonomous role within our healthcare system. I’ve always wanted to utilize my knowledge and skillsets in the highest capacity possible so that I can positively influence health and wellness in the most influential way. My personal mission statement is: An honest partner to inspire hope in the pursuit of health and wellbeing. Earning my master’s and becoming a nurse practitioner helped me achieve this.

Why did you choose Concordia?

I chose Concordia for various reasons. Concordia incorporates faith into practice and is financially reasonable. Also, their true thoughtfulness and concern regarding the detriment of debt, the hands-on advanced assessment course (unfortunately COVID prevented this for the last 2 years), and their flexible and traditional-style program requirements. It was critical that I was able to work enough to provide for my wife and two children while completing this program. The summer and winter break provided great work-life balance.

What was your experience like at Concordia?

Although my time as a Concordian was through virtual means, I felt as though I was a part of their mission and vision. Concordia stretched my intellectual and psychological limits to provide me with a strong foundation as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The strong and faithful support from Concordia staff made all aspects of my experience during graduate school more enjoyable. Any time I had questions or needed assistance, the friendly staff was always there for me. I’m a stronger in mind, body, and spirit because of the experiences Concordia fostered.

Did Concordia prepare you well for a career as a nurse practitioner?

I have a surreal feeling of stepping into my new role. But, I’m confident Concordia has provided a strong foundation that I’ll be able to apply easily to my future work as a provider. The clinical experience is an invaluable piece of training that Concordia emphasizes in their program. It’s given me enough experience to know how I can best serve our healthcare system with excitement and passion in the next couple months.

Are you now working as an NP? What do you most look forward to in your new role?

I’ve accepted a position as an Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner for Memorial Medical Center starting in March. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned in order to benefit my fellow colleagues and coworkers at Memorial Medical Center. I also look forward to promoting health and wellness within our surrounding community. My hope is to do this through associations with the local school district and other organizational affiliations.

What advice do you have for nurses who are considering becoming a nurse practitioner?

After reaching my goal of becoming an NP, I’ve come to value the importance of each nursing role in our busy healthcare system. This includes CNAs to NPs and beyond. Before committing to a nurse practitioner program, self-reflect on who you are and what you value most. Understanding what makes you “tick” as a nurse will keep your fire lit while pursuing this difficult, rewarding path. If you’re unsure if the role of nurse practitioner is what you want to pursue, I encourage you to take the time to reach out to an NP and shadow as much as you can.

Consider your personal situation, and consider your feasibility with completing a program like Concordia’s. It was critical for me to have a family who supported me during my journey through the program.

Do you want to know more?

Becoming a nurse practitioner could be right for you. If Colten’s story has interested you, feel free to visit us here to learn more.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.