Hometown: Bald Knob, AR
Currently Resides: West Plains, MO
Occupation: Registered Nurse
All Degrees: Associate of Science in Nursing, Missouri State University-West Plains, 2020
“My experience at Missouri State-West Plains could be summed up in one word, and that is ‘accomplishment.’”
There were many reasons Teresa Cagle chose Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) for her studies. Between high praise from other students and the affordable price, the campus opened the door for her educational success.
“I was unsure of who I was when I came to school at Missouri State University- West Plains, but I have found my purpose, my drive and self-assurance that I can do whatever I choose to do with my future,” Teresa said. “I feel I have reached the first of many goals that I have set for myself.”
“The instructors and support services offered here made the difference.”
Teresa said her instructors saw her as more than just a student and took a personal interest in her life. They went above and beyond, supporting her when she struggled and encouraging her to keep trying.
“I met so many people in my time at Missouri State-West Plains; however, Mrs. (Barbara) Caton and Mrs. (Amy) Ackerson are the two people who helped me the most. Mrs. Caton was so positive and embodies the type of person I wanted to be. She made nursing sound like the career that I have been looking for, and she was right. It is,” she said.
“Mrs. Ackerson, while tough, is someone that I consider to be the biggest influence in my choice to continue nursing school when it got tough. She was there for me personally when my husband got the news that he was in stage 4 spinal cord cancer and when my daughter was facing a GI bleed. I didn’t know if I would be able to finish my degree, but she worked for me, prayed for me and encouraged me. For that matter, I cannot say enough good things about any and all of the instructors I have had,” she said. “They are personally invested in their students.”
“This educational experience restored a faith in myself that I was lacking.”
Teresa now works as a neuro-psych nurse at Ozarks Healthcare, formerly Ozarks Medical Center, in West Plains. For her, finishing her degree and beginning her career as a registered nurse was her biggest academic accomplishment to date. “I would not trade my career choice or choice to attend Missouri State-West Plains,” she said.
“When I first enrolled, I was lost and unsure of what I wanted to do with my future. I have always been a caregiver by nature but thought that nursing was beyond my grasp,” she said. “I believe that nurses impact their community on many levels. The door is open for me to help others in their darkest hours. To me that is a huge impact.”
For anyone else considering entering higher education, Teresa encourages them to fight for it. “A new life is waiting for you. Life does not stop, circumstances change, struggles are real, don’t wait to start your future,” she said. “A new life is within your grasp. Go get it!”