Carrie Tudor, MPH, BS ('08), RN, took longer than most to go into nursing. Now she's a passionate believer.
She entered the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing at age 38 as a member of the Accelerated Class of 2008 and then moved quickly into the PhD program.
"I was one of the oldest people in my accelerated class," Tudor says. "But that's one of the nice things about nursing. You do see a lot of people who come to nursing as a second career. And that's because nursing has something for everyone."
Tudor, who has a master's in public health, spent 10 years in her first career in global health, traveling widely. In Myanmar, working with the World Health Organization, Tudor helped organize immunization campaigns against polio, measles, tetanus, and - a critical accomplishment - the introduction of a hepatitis B vaccine into the national immunization program.
Then in Tibet, where Tudor spent more than two years testing a traditional Tibetan medicine against a western medicine in the prevention of post-partum hemorrhage, her life changed.
"With public health I never felt like I really needed any sort of clinical background," Tudor says. "But observing these deliveries in Tibet, I really started feeling like having some sort of clinical background would help me. And nursing seemed to be the perfect bridge between public health and medicine; it's about the person rather than the disease."
When deciding on nursing schools, Johns Hopkins was an ideal choice for Tudor because of the school's close connections with the School of Public Health and the relative proximity to Washington, D.C., home to many international health organizations.
During her accelerated program, Tudor discovered that she loved the clinical aspects of nursing, but missed the research and public health facets.
"Getting a PhD in nursing would give me the skills to do research," she realized, "and the ability to help the greatest number of people."
Today being a nurse is helping Tudor's overseas research. She's now working in South Africa on drug-resistant tuberculosis and infection control, particularly among health care workers and finds her nursing background has "definitely enhanced my skills and abilities to communicate with other health care workers." Tudor notes that "I am able to go into a hospital and say, 'I'm a nurse,' and there's this bond of brotherhood or sisterhood; of 'I understand you and you understand me.' I didn't have that before."
Tudor isn't sure where she'll land after earning her PhD. But for now, "It's just great to be back in the field...That's where I thrive."