From a young age, Colleen Waggoner, RN, BSN, has been fascinated with the complexities of our bodies, as well as our mind’s influence on our physical being. “For me, nursing is about using compassion, health expertise, and advocacy to promote wellness.”
The daughter of a first-generation Mexican-American and a Navy veteran, she has a passion for inclusive care and a desire to serve. “Both my parents exemplified a giving mentality. My dad has a servant’s heart,” said Waggoner, who also comes from a family of nurses. Her sister is a nurse and her grandmother was a Chief Nursing Officer in the 1960s. So, she understands well the call to the profession.
“Nursing views health as not only the absence of illness, but as the balance of our whole selves in symbiosis with our environment. This nursing paradigm is what I want to embody as a provider in healthcare today,” she said.
A Commitment to Under-Represented & Vulnerable Among Us
With a commitment to serve under-represented and underserved communities, Waggoner was recently accepted into the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program and is currently seeking a position (post-graduation) working for a Federally Qualified Health Center in the Denver metro area or Rocky Mountain region. The loan repayment program, developed because of a shortage of health professions, will cover 100% of the cost of her student loan debt that led to her master’s degree specializing in the Family Nurse Practitioner track.
This summer, she plans on taking her boards and then will continue her studies at CU in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program next year. “The role of the nurse practitioner was created here, and there's something extremely valuable about learning in a place that's so invested and knowledgeable of this field,” said Waggoner.
According to Waggoner, Colorado is a state at the forefront of advocacy for Nurse Practitioner autonomy and for DNPs to utilize the full scope of practice. “I knew CU was the best choice as I pursued advanced practice nursing because this program has such an amazing performance history and is in a state that's defining the future of nurse practitioning.”
Waggoner and Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, who was her preceptor last year. They worked side by side during a flu shot clinic on campus.