As mother and daughter, Dana Culp and Corinne Wolter share many things. Chief among them these days are a love of nursing and pride in one another.
“Becoming a nurse was the best decision I’ve ever made,” says Culp, who graduated in December with the inaugural class of Samuel Merritt University’s Online Family Nurse Practitioner program.
Her journey started 18 years ago when she returned to school in her thirties to earn her undergraduate nursing degree from SMU while working at night and raising two children.
“She’s a superwoman,” says Wolter, who is now following in her mother’s footsteps by enrolling in SMU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.
“It made me incredibly proud,” says Culp about her daughter’s decision to become a nurse.
Wolter’s exposure to nursing education began at only 5 years old when she would sometimes accompany her mother to classes, sitting in the back of the room with her coloring books. She says she vividly remembers attending her mother’s first nursing graduation in 2003.
“It was a very positive, super exciting experience for my mom,” says Wolter. “And it was very inspiring for me to see my mom going back to school and really sacrificing a lot to reach her goal of becoming an RN.”
Wolter says she always wanted to go into the health sciences. While becoming a nurse remained in the back of her mind, Wolter veered toward nutrition while at the University of Nevada because she thought she should do something different from her mother. Even so, the idea of being a dietician also was sparked by her healthy, athletic upbringing.
“My mom always cooked homemade meals and she is a runner too,” says Wolter. “Feeding our bodies good food was always our family norm.”
During her junior year, she worked as a dietary aide at a Reno hospital and loved its fast pace and teamwork. In particular, she admired the nurses.
“I looked up to them so much,” she says. “I was inspired watching them work and their constant contact with patients.”
The experience rekindled her interest in nursing and she applied to SMU. “Could not be more excited for the future!” she wrote on Instagram when she received her acceptance.
Before her classes begin in November, Wolter is working as a physical therapy assistant at the same multi-service health clinic in Pleasanton where her mother works as a nurse practitioner. Culp fell in love with the clinic while doing her SMU clinical rotation there and was hired in January, just recently becoming one of the owners.
Culp attributes her success to her education and all of the opportunities that being a nurse offers, which is why she is hopeful for her daughter’s future.
“The idea that she would get into the same profession and love it as much as I do makes me very happy for her,” Culp says.