Sonya Carothers

Sonya Carothers
Family Nurse Practitioner

Obtaining the Ph.D. is an accomplishment that I never envisioned as a young girl. When I became a registered nurse, the Ph.D. was not on my radar. However, as life and my circumstances changed, new and exciting opportunities arose that steered me towards, what I feel, an amazing life-time achievement. No one in my immediate family has achieved a degree of this magnitude. I am my family’s trailblazer.

I have practiced as a nurse for a total of 39 years. I acquired my master’s degree in nursing in 2008 and currently practice as a certified and licensed family nurse practitioner. When I began to entertain the idea of acquiring the Ph.D., the focus of my practice centered around women’s health. Many of my patients were aged 45 to 60 years old and were experiencing symptoms related to menopause. As a result of my female patient’s experience, I pursued and attained an additional certification as a North American Menopause Society Certified Menopause Practitioner (NCMP). For me, acquiring the NCMP certification solidified my credentials as someone who was dedicated to caring for the menopause-aged population. However, I felt compelled to complete research on menopause because of many patient’s inquiries and my own curiosity. Since I wanted to complete research, my next logical step was to acquire the Ph.D.

Acquiring the Ph.D. was extremely challenging and involved strict tenacity. I had a busy practice that my husband and I shared, and I saw patients full-time while operating a successful clinical practice. Running a business, taking care of my family’s needs, attending to patients and charting after hours, taking call, and bringing school into the mix as a full-time student was indeed a challenge. I am not sure how I was able to maintain doing all those things successfully with the level of attention that each required. Looking back, I really don’t know how I did it without making a sacrifice in either area – I don’t think that I slept.

Wilkes University Passan School of Nursing Ph.D. program was designed for the working person. Because of the design, I felt my dream of obtaining the Ph.D. was indeed possible but I knew it would be hard work. My husband would often say, “If it were easy, everyone would have a Ph.D., Sonya.” Well, it wasn’t easy.

I often reflect on a scripture in Proverbs, 14:23 – “All hard work brings profit. But mere talk leads only to poverty.” Now, I feel like my hard work will be profitable; not only for my patients but for menopausal-aged patients across the globe. The valuable information that was obtained in my research will be disseminated and the menopausal population may not be impoverished and lack much needed understanding. Acquiring the Ph.D. gives me substantiality and my voice credibility. I am glad to have made this journey.