SXU Alumna Shares Her Success with Health Center
Saint Xavier University (SXU) is proud to stand as a national leader in the education of future nurses and honors the irreplaceable role that nurse practitioners play in health care during this year's National Nurse Practitioner Week. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences has been ranked among the top three online graduate nursing programs five consecutive years and its ongoing standard of success starts with the students.
Mary Rhodes has undertaken a successful career since graduating from SXU, giving back to the community as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) at both a local practice and the SXU Health Center. Raised in Downers Grove, Rhodes knew from an early age that she wanted to be a nurse. Her grandmother was herself a nurse and a big motivator for Rhodes's choice in a career, despite other family member's concerns.
"My dad used to tell me that I could never make it as a nurse," said Rhodes with a laugh. "I couldn't handle being around vomit and I still can't, and that's kind of a big part of the job. So he'd give me a hard time when I'd talk about becoming a nurse."
Rhodes transferred to SXU after two years at DePaul University to pursue her career in health care. Quickly feeling a part of the warm and welcoming SXU community, Rhodes joined a tight-knit group of nursing majors and moved through the program with many people who still remain her best friends today. Graduating in 2007, she then went to work in pediatrics for the Loyola University Medical Center.
"I worked there for five years," explained Rhodes. "I knew I wanted to go back to school, and although Loyola offered to pay for my tuition with them, I really wanted to go back to Saint Xavier. I already loved the professors and knew that they would challenge me."
Coming back to school as a full-time student and a full-time employee, Rhodes was also undertaking the great career of motherhood. Rhodes looks back fondly at the time when she balanced life, work and school, describing the experience as "incredibly exhausting but worth every second." The FNP program at SXU gave her the unique hybrid of online education and in-classroom learning experiences, giving her the needed flexibility to earn her degree while working and raising a family. She graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing degree in 2013 and took a position as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the same practice she performed her clinical requirements.
"I really wanted to work in family medicine so I could have the chance to treat adults," said Rhodes. "I loved my time in pediatrics but now I get to treat the whole family."
Since her graduation, Rhodes has also taken on several roles at SXU both in classrooms and at the Health Center. Guiding students both working to become future nurses or pursuing goals of healthier living, Rhodes has dedicated herself to giving back to the community in and around SXU.
"I get to see so many students doing their practicums and help support their goals," said Rhodes. "I love everything about this school and wouldn't change a thing. The networking chances I've had, and the friendships I've made since coming here for the undergraduate program have changed my life."
Still working at the family practice and the SXU Health Center, Rhodes has become a firm staple of the community. She balanced a family, commands a successful career and still finds new and creative ways to help give back. Saint Xavier University could not be more proud of her success and the great work she still does for the University and its neighbors in the community at the Health Center.
"I couldn't be more grateful to SXU for all they've done for me," said Rhodes. "I really do believe in the nursing program and wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else."
SXU is honored to have such dedicated alumni and to support the many men and women who continue to work toward a career in nursing. For more information on the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, contact Admissions at admissionsFREESXU or 773-298-3050.