Alumni Success Story – Myrna Starr Brown ’14

“Davenport University helped me find my purpose,” said Myrna Starr Brown ’14. After nearly two decades as a hair stylist, Myrna turned in her clippers for a stethoscope as she earned her BSN at Davenport. Today, she is a RN Unit Manager at Sanctuary at McAuley in Muskegon, MI assisting senior residents in their rehabilitation experience. Learn more about Myrna’s journey below.

Q & A With Myrna!

Tell us about yourself, Myrna!

I graduated from Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon. I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a nurse, but instead I went to cosmetology school. For nearly two decades, I worked hard to build a strong clientele and ultimately became a well-established and successful hair stylist and salon owner.  I earned a great living for my family.  After a series of personal and professional challenges, I decided that I wanted to start over and return to school. I retired from the hair business and completely changed my career path. I enrolled in the nursing program at DU. Today, I am a registered nurse.

What was your experience like at DU?

My experience at DU was great. I felt like a fish out of water because I was the oldest student there – the other students were nearly the same as age as my daughter!  I remember my first couple of weeks – I showed up in business attire with a jacket and high heels. The students were wearing t-shirts, flip-flops and pajamas! I quickly adapted to their style.

But, my journey at Davenport University was incredible. They supported me through all of my ups and downs. Being a divorced, single, full-time mother of three, working, traveling back and forth from Muskegon to GR for classes and clinical – plus many other things weighing on my mind, I had a lot on my plate. The professors and my fellow classmates were always there for me. Davenport University helped me to succeed and achieve my goals.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a RN Unit Manager at Sanctuary at McAuley in Muskegon. I manage and help coordinate the care for up to 12 patients at a time with a direct support staff of 3 CNAs.  The residents that I care for are not sick enough to be in the hospital but not ready to go home. They need short-term rehab services due to recovery from some type of orthopedic surgery, such as a hip replacement, or they might be recuperating from an exacerbation of other chronic illnesses like COPD or congestive heart failure.

I take my work personally and I truly love the people that I provide care for. When I look at my residents, I see my dad. I think, this is someone’s dad or mom, or this is someone’s husband or wife, brother or sister.  I put my heart and soul into my work, just as I would do for my own.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that I can be an effectual  component in the promotion of healing, health, and wellness for others.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Earning my nursing degree from Davenport University. My mother is a registered nurse and I remember watching her go through nursing school as a kid. I always wanted to go back to school, but I didn’t think I was smart enough. I thought my siblings were smarter than me – I have one brother who is a doctor, one is an accountant, and one is a respiratory therapist. I also have a sister who is a social worker. Davenport helped me realize my potential – I was on the Dean’s List every semester!  Now, I am a bachelors prepared registered nurse!

What advice do you have for DU recent grads?

There may be some obstacles trying to seek employment and settle into your new profession because “life” is much different than the structured school setting that is designed for your success.  Try not to stress, stay focused, and take them down one at a time!  I was so busy thinking of all the things that I didn’t think I could do, when all I had to do is try!  Just do it!   Things always seem to work out.

What do you do in your free time?

I recently got married, so I spend a lot of time with my husband. I enjoy spending time with my kids and family.  I am currently pursuing my career goals in advanced practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner with an expected graduation date of October 2017!

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