After 15 years and three degrees, Megan Conner stepped across the stage at Greensboro Coliseum one last time earlier this month as she received her doctoral degree in nursing.

“I never left long enough for them to change my email address,” she laughed. “I’ve had the same email address for the past 15 years.”

Conner first came to UNCG in 2001 as an undergraduate nursing major. A native of Littleton, a small town in Halifax County near Roanoke Rapids, she was eager to meet new people and to begin her journey toward a career as a nurse anesthetist.

Conner flourished at UNCG, so when she began looking at master’s degree programs UNCG’s School of Nursing once again rose to the top.

After graduating with her master’s in nursing in 2009, Conner was determined to go to a different school for her doctoral program to diversify her experience. Although she applied and was accepted to several different doctoral programs, she ultimately decided to come back to UNCG.

“It wasn’t the same feeling,” she said. “I knew that UNCG was where I belonged.”

What kept Conner coming back again and again?

“The faculty in the School of Nursing is so student-oriented,” she said. “They’re so focused on making you grow and be successful.”

On top of working on her doctoral degree, Conner has been juggling motherhood, her work as a nurse anesthetist and teaching nursing classes.

Even though her patients rarely remember her, Conner takes pride in providing excellent anesthesia care for her patients from beginning to end.

“I give them all the drugs they need. I control their respiratory functions. I’m taking care of everything while they sleep during their surgeries,” she said.

Now that she’s graduated, Conner wants to spend more time with her husband, Michael, and two young daughters, Eleanor and Elin. Eleanor was born three weeks before Conner started her doctoral studies, and Elin came three weeks before her third year in the program.

“I’m glad I did it when they were young,” she said. “It’s much easier to keep going to school than to go back later.”

“My oldest doesn’t remember most of it, and my youngest won’t really remember any of it,” she added.

Conner plans to continue practicing anesthesia in eastern North Carolina through her independent company, Conner Anesthesia, PLLC, and is considering opportunities to continue her research interest.

“I’d like to do more research, particularly on social support and coping,” she said.

Follow the conversation about December Commencement on social media by searching #uncggrad on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

 

Story by Jeanie Groh, University Relations
Photography by Brian Speice, Photography Intern, University Relations