Believe in yourself. Know that you are enough. You have what it takes and you are already blessed with the tools to succeed.
Who is Sheila?
I am a first-generation Nigerian American, born in Alabama, and raised in Georgia. I am married, with two beautiful children, ages 5 months and 3 years old. I work full time as a surgical nurse practitioner
Masters in Science of Nursing
Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field?
My mom was a direct influence on my career choice. My mom started working in the medical field when I was in middle school. She became a registered nurse by the time I was in high school. Once I started high school I was intrigued, and I then started volunteering at the hospital every Summer.
Did you always have the desire to work in this field? If not, what was your intended field? Why did you change careers?
I knew as early as high school that I would go to school to be a nurse. While in high school, I took all of the health assessment classes one could take. I always loved biology and chemistry. Excelling in those courses came easy to me. Once I started nursing school and got into my clinical rotations, I knew right away that I wanted to obtain my masters.
What do you love most about your job or career?
I love being a provider. I love that I am able to come up with a plan of care to significantly make a positive difference in a patient’s life. I love educating my patients and making an impact for them to make better choices.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?
I work in surgical services and deal with acutely ill patients. It rewarding to see patients walk out of the hospital on discharge day after being admitted and not knowing if they were going to make it alive.
What things would you change about your job?
I work long hours, if there was a way to have shorter days, that would be nice.
What are the most difficult things or disappointing aspect of your job?
It’s difficult to still see patients have the tools to care for themselves but not make good decisions on managing their chronic issues.
How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?
I go to work and I do my best. I make sure that I am knowledgeable in my field and provide good care. I am held to my own standard and for me, that is always operating in excellence.
What tips would you offer for anyone thinking about entering into your profession?
Nursing school is hard but rewarding. You have to have good grades to get into the program, and you also have to have good grades to stay in the program. You will have to make a lot of sacrifices for your personal life. My tip would be to always have something to look forward to at the end of the semester. If you decide to go to grad school, understand that it is very competitive. While working as a nurse, work like you’re interviewing for your next job because each physician is looking at you as their next potential nurse practitioner. Always network and make connections with physicians and other nurses.
What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a “woman of color” working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field?
Believe in yourself. Know that you are enough. You have what it takes and you are already blessed with the tools to succeed. Always speak up when things are not right and do your best with everything you are presented with.
Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field as a career choice?
Education is so important. Understand that no one can take it away from you. Do not get discouraged by the amount of time it’s going to take to accomplish your degree(s). Learn to appreciate all of the character-building opportunities that obtaining your degree is doing for you, and appreciate the journey.
What is your favorite quote?
Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is a stepping stone to greatness. -Oprah.
When presented with challenges, I think about what is this trying to teach me? I press forward and push past the fear. When starting anything new I think about the potential of where I could be if I push past the fear and stick with it.
How has your family been a great influence or support system?
My family is my biggest support system. My sisters are also in the medical field so I have them for support and insight on clinical scenarios.
How do you juggle motherhood and your career?
What are your future goals related to your career?
I love surgery. I want to ultimately work in surgical gynecology.
What are some interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share?
Contact Sheila for any further questions: