Thomas Smith

Mechanicsville, VA

Virginia Quality Professional Earns DNP – and Dean's Award for Academic Excellence

American Sentinel University graduate Thomas Smith embodies everything that one would hope to find in a nurse and educator. Thomas is hungry to learn and compassionate. These two aspects led him to earn his Doctor of Nursing Practice, educational leadership specialization and receive the Dean's Award for academic excellence.

Thomas Smith went to college with the intention of becoming a doctor, but the ability to work with patients led him to nursing instead. He started out in oncology in New York City, then moved back to West Virginia, where he explored various clinical areas – adult care, pediatrics, the intensive care unit, and nursing education. In 1989, he earned a master's in education and higher education administration, continuing his work in the hospital and also becoming a health education consultant. In the early 1990s, Thomas moved away from the bedside and into managed care. He continued to work his way up over the next decade in healthcare quality positions.

The segue into higher education administration made Thomas feel that a doctorate program made good sense. He entered the DNP, educational leadership specialization program at American Sentinel University, which he felt would benefit both his leadership and educational endeavors. In June 2015, amid moves across the state and two job changes, Thomas completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice, educational leadership specialization.Thomas and his wife, Denise attended his commencement ceremony in June 2015. Graduation was made all the more special when Thomas learned he received the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence, given to one graduate in each academic program. As he moves toward retirement and thinks about teaching as an adjunct in the near future, the DNP has been valuable.

"From the first residency program to the very end, it was great, I think the program pushed me to think outside the box. The DNP has already helped me tremendously."