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Academic Spotlight: Nursing Compliance Director Dr. Sonya Blevins

Dr. Sonya Blevins, SNHU director of nursing compliance and licensure Dr. Sonya Blevins wearing a cap and gown at SNHU's commencement.Dr. Sonya Blevins was attracted to nursing because she wanted to help people. After working as a cardiac critical care nurse and obstetrics/gynecology nurse, she began teaching in higher education to help teach the next generation of nurses. Now the director of compliance and licensure in Southern New Hampshire University’s online nursing programs, she recently answered questions about what drew her to higher education, how she connects with students and more.

Can you tell us about your professional background?  

I have been a registered nurse since 1996. My clinical background is in cardiac critical care and obstetrics/gynecology. For the past 21 years, I have been teaching in nursing academia at either the associate, baccalaureate or masters degree levels. My experience includes teaching in the didactic, clinical, simulation and online settings. 

What first drew you to higher education?  

I was actually in my master’s program at Syracuse University when I first felt a call to teaching. While working on night shift, several nursing students were brought to our unit. Their instructor quickly left the unit. The nursing students looked lost. As charge nurse, I went up to the students and asked them about their clinical rotation. I ended up splitting the students up with our nursing team for several hours. While I made rounds on my patients, I had two students with me. As I performed my nursing assessments, I was not only explaining what I was doing but why I was doing it. At the end of their time with us that evening, they all spoke about how much they learned just being with us for a few hours.

That example sparked my interest in teaching and what a positive difference I could make in the learning and training of our future nurses. 

What aspects of your own education have been influential in shaping your career in academia?  

I am a military widow. Because of military demands, we were constantly moving from one duty station to another. I had to find an education option that was flexible with military moves. Both my master's and doctorate degrees were obtained from accredited online programs. Even with the demands of military life, I was able to continue my education and grow professionally. I am a strong believer in the benefits of online education and how it can grow an individual professionally. 

What attracted you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?  

Like most nurses, I always wanted to help people. The beauty of nursing is that are so many specialty areas that one can work in. During my career, I had multiple opportunities to work in different nursing areas such as critical care, medical-surgical and obstetrics/gynecology. Nursing is constantly changing; it is never stagnant. There is always something new to learn in our field.

How have you found ways to effectively connect with students?  

To effectively connect with students, I have found that clear communication in a timely manner is key. Let students know your expectations up front but also make it clear that you are here to help them. All they have to do is outreach you. 

What brings you the greatest joy in your work in your role as a director in SNHU’s nursing program?

My role provides numerous opportunities to engage in different aspects of the nursing program. I work not only with our full-time faculty but our adjunct faculty as well. As the nursing profession and regulations change, we as a nursing program have to change and adapt too. I enjoy being apart of the change process.  

What do you feel is unique about the faculty and students you work with?  

Our faculty are dedicated not only to our profession but to our students. They are skilled professionals who want to see students succeed in their goals. 

What does SNHU’s mission to transform the lives of learners mean to you?

Education from SNHU provides a wealth of opportunities for students to grow and expand their careers while juggling the demands of work, home and school. Having this education enables not only the student to grow professionally but can have a positive impact on their family and community.  

Outside of work, what’s something you’re passionate about or really enjoy doing?  

I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family and friends.

A degree can change your life. Choose your program from 200+ SNHU degrees that can take you where you want to go.

Joe Cote is a writer and organic marketer at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), where he has worked since 2016. Previously he spent more than a dozen years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers in Vermont and New Hampshire. He lives near SNHU's Manchester, New Hampshire campus with his wife and daughter.

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Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.