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Two-Time Online Alumna Finds ‘Highest Reward for any Nurse’ Working with Women

May 1, 2013

Renata Estes “I am a mother, a wife, a nurse and an immigrant,” said Renata Estes '10/'12, a two-time graduate of Drexel University Online's nursing programs. Immigrating to the United States from Poland at just 20 years old, Estes was convinced that working with people in need would give her the ultimate satisfaction in her future career.

Estes completed her first Bachelor’s degree -in Business Management- at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey while simultaneously teaching herself English. She went to school during the day and worked at night. Upon graduating, she moved to New York City, got married and gave birth to a baby boy. Even after successfully proving to herself that she could survive in a new country without her parents, she still felt like something was missing.

“I yearned for a job that at the end of the day would make me proud, happy and fulfilled. I may not have known at that time what I was going to do, but I knew that what I loved and did the best was help people in need,” she said.

Estes’ search for purpose and fulfillment took her to the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing online program in 2008. While completing her degree online, she also worked at the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, a small non-profit hospital in southern New Jersey that treats adult patients with heart and lung disease. 

“I learned to perform in a fast, ever-changing environment, to respond to critical changes in patients’ conditions and to take appropriate actions. I built my critical thinking skills and polished my organizational abilities.  I learned how to prioritize when somebody’s health or life depends on me,” she shared.

It was her experience at Deborah that made Estes realize that, from the wider patient population, women are the most likely to neglect and abuse their own health by putting others’ ahead of their own needs, especially in difficult economic situations. She began to think about becoming a Nurse Practitioner in Women’s Health.

Wanting to gain more experience in the area of Women’s Health, Estes began working in the maternity unit at the Princeton Medical Center in Princeton, New Jersey, where she worked for seven years.

“To be with women in labor, to experience firsthand their pain and anxiety, to witness them coming into motherhood, to share their tears, joy and sometimes grief is the highest reward for any nurse,” Estes said. “To teach them to care for their own body and the newborn, to navigate them through the childbirth gave me an excellent opportunity to fulfill my nursing standards.”

During her time at the Princeton Medical Center, Estes was accepted into Drexel University’s Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program, from which she graduated in June 2012.

“I have reached a point in my personal and professional life where I feel rewarded yet continuously stimulated to learn by providing care for my female patients,” Estes said.

She now works in a small, private practice in Princeton, New Jersey and lives nearby with her husband and three children.