Alumni Spotlight: Althea, DNP, “With perseverance, anything is possible”

Althea McLeish Whyte, dnp

Althea McLeish Whyte graduated with her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in September 2023. Althea’s journey to her DNP took her from Jamaica to the United States, all while taking care of her family and supporting her spouse. Keep reading to follow Althea’s story.


In October 2020, six months into my new position as an ER manager, and amidst the uncertainties of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, and my husband’s recovery from open heart surgery, I embarked on an ambitious journey pursuing my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Little did I know that the road ahead would be fraught with challenges and obstacles that would test my resilience and determination. Yet, armed with unwavering determination and a supportive network of family and friends, I forged ahead, driven by my long-standing dream of becoming a doctor.

I was trained as an RN in Jamaica and immigrated to New York City in 1990. I arrived with ambitious goals, chief among them, the desire to become a doctor. The demands of raising three daughters and working full-time made pursuing a traditional MD or PhD difficult. Many years later, I learned about the DNP degree and it became a goal, offering a glimmer of hope, and reigniting my determination to achieve my lifelong dream of earning a doctoral degree.

Entering the DNP program amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, my new management position, and personal family medical issues presented formidable challenges. As I balanced the demands of academic rigor with the responsibilities of caring for my recovering husband and managing my role as an ER manager, the journey ahead seemed daunting. I had the support of my family and friends, so with each obstacle encountered, my resolve to complete the program only grew stronger. I didn’t want to let them down.

The structured payment plan offered by the university was one of the main differentiators as I looked for a suitable program. I did not want to incur debt to complete my degree. And I was pleasantly surprised that the courses within the DNP program were not merely academically challenging; they were transformative, expanding my knowledge base and honing my writing skills. This solidified my decision and, as I progressed through the program, my motivations also evolved. Initially driven by the desire to fulfill a long-held aspiration, my desires expanded to encompass leadership roles within the healthcare industry. 

However, in the midst of my academic pursuits, my husband’s health took a turn for the worse, plunging him into kidney failure. The ensuing months were marked by hospitalizations and medical procedures, culminating in his reliance on dialysis for survival. Despite the emotional toll of witnessing his struggles, I remained steadfast in my commitment to completing the DNP program. My faith, daily mental mindset training, hard work, organizational skills, perseverance, and determination, kept me going. I met every deadline except one setback, which required me to request an assignment extension. 

Today, as I reflect on my journey, I find myself in a different professional landscape. While my initial aspirations of ascending to management and leadership roles within healthcare organizations have evolved, I have found fulfillment in unexpected avenues. Owning my own business, active involvement in professional organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA), and the coalition for nurse reimbursement have become the cornerstones of my career. I pivoted from hospital management into a part-time position as an ER triage nurse, and this allows me to remain engaged in direct patient care while staying abreast of industry changes. 

My pursuit of a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree has been a testament to the power of perseverance in the face of adversity. Despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic, personal family medical issues, and professional setbacks, I emerged stronger and more determined than ever before. Though my career trajectory has diverged from its original path, the lessons learned and the resilience forged throughout my DNP journey continue to guide me forward.

And as I embrace my next chapter writing, speaking, teaching, training, touching lives, and making a difference, I carry with me the invaluable lessons learned and the unwavering belief that with perseverance, anything is possible.


Althea’s story reminds us that perseverance is indeed possible. Ensuring you have a support system in place, a healthy mindset, and goalposts along the way will help you reach your educational goals! If you’re ready to pursue an advanced nursing degree, visit the School of Nursing and Health Sciences webpage. If you are already a nursing student and you want to discuss your course plan and academic goals, reach out to to speak with your Academic Advisor.

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