Anything is Possible: Meet Sharina Arceneaux
by Sharina Arceneaux, DNP, RN-BC, NEA-BC
Director, Magnet Program
Methodist Dallas Medical Center
If you had asked me 10 years ago as a new graduate nurse at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, I never would have imagined that a little girl from Louisiana would earn her doctorate in nursing and become the director of the Magnet Recognition Program® — the gold standard of nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) — at a Level I Trauma Center hospital. But today I am, and I say the sky is the limit.
My journey started in 2007 when I was a senior in college and saw Methodist Health System at a career fair in California. I spoke with an incredibly friendly, welcoming recruiter, and my interest was already piqued. Afterward, I had a phone interview and then a face-to-face interview. During these interviews I knew that I had found something extraordinary. When we met in person, I immediately fell in love with the oncology nursing unit and their very special patient population. Methodist offered me the job on the spot, and I couldn’t wait to say, “yes.”
I started out as a brand-new nurse graduate with much to learn. After a year of being a nurse, I went back to school for my Master of Science in nursing and finished in 2010. From there I was a case coordinator for a year and then became a clinical nursing supervisor, where I focused on quality and patient experience. Afterward, I became the medical-surgical clinical educator for five years and went back to school once again for my Doctor of Nursing Practice. Once I received my doctorate, I applied to be the director of the Magnet program here at Methodist Dallas.
I’ve literally grown up at Methodist — from a fresh-faced nurse to where I am today. One of the most important elements in the early years was my preceptor who took me under her wing and mentored me. Our relationship continued far beyond the training — in fact, I still look to her today for guidance.
The most important lesson she taught me is that it is OKAY to not know everything. A career path in nursing is about learning constantly. Expect it. If you run across something you don’t know, either look it up or ask for help, learn, and move forward.
If you are just getting started in your career, let me pass the torch and share some advice:
- Keep an open mind about your career development. In those early years, I never would have known that I wanted to be the Magnet director, but I was open to new challenges, and one thing led to another.
- Never stop learning. Always strive to learn more. Be a sponge. Ask questions. The fact is that the knowledge you need for your job keeps changing. New electronic health records, new medications, new equipment — healthcare changes every day, and we have to stay on top of it so we can provide the best care possible for our patients.
- Take advantage of your opportunities. Whether it’s with a professional organization such as the American Nurses Association or opportunities within your facility, get involved.
- Find your why. I come from a close-knit family. I’m the oldest, and I have many cousins who look up to me. I knew they were watching me so I set high goals for myself. I wanted them to know that if I can do it, they can too. They were my purpose.
Nursing is overflowing with opportunities ranging from the boardroom to the cath lab to delivering babies to going back to school — anything is possible. There is always something different to learn, and Methodist supports their nurses with ongoing education, tuition reimbursement, and certification reimbursement benefits. In 2007, Methodist started investing in me, and they still do today. We are interested in growing our own and seeing you succeed.
So why do I believe anything is possible? I grew up with a single mother. She was very independent and helped me to believe that the sky truly is the limit regardless of your background. Opportunity is available for all, but we have to make sacrifices. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Remember, hard work pays off. Trust me. And trust Methodist.
At Methodist Health System, we truly believe our nurses can achieve anything. They are the heart of our hospitals. That’s why we encourage continuing education and promote from within. Join us, and discover what’s possible for you. Visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.
© Methodist Health System