PHOTO ID: (l-r) Madison and Megan Winchester of Hornbeak, are first-year nursing students at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Winchester sisters navigate nursing program together

Megan and Madison Winchester, of Hornbeak, are first-year nursing students at the University of Tennessee at Martin. They are also twin sisters and say they have always shared a similar love for helping people.

“I chose nursing because growing up I knew I always wanted to help people, especially when they need someone at possibly one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” said Megan. “There are so many different areas I can choose from in this field. … We chose UT Martin because it was close to home, and it has one of the best nursing programs around!”

Both sisters are on track to graduate in May 2022, and their post-graduation plans follow similar paths as well.

“I have considered working in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) with infants,” said Megan. “I have also considered working in the emergency department. I like waking up to something different every day. In the ER, you never know what is going to come through those doors.” Madison agrees with both potential options but adds anesthesia and surgery to her personal list.

Both young women participated in a university travel-study experience to Brazil last August, and they say that experience has broadened their world and made them both consider travel nursing as a career option. Travel nurses work for a parent company and relocate several times a year depending on the need for health-care professionals in different areas of the country. This option could potentially separate the sisters for the first time in their lives, but they are up for the challenge.

“We both had never traveled out of the country before that trip, and it has always been our goal to travel. We chose that trip because it was an amazing opportunity to experience different cultures outside of the U.S.,” said Madison. “The nursing program here at (UT) Martin provides us with knowledge in the classroom and allows us to apply the information in clinicals,” she added, which will give both students the skills and experience necessary to succeed in the health-care field across the country and around the world.

The sisters have some advice for nursing students who follow them through the program, which is known for its challenging curriculum.

“Be prepared to put effort and time into this program, (and) always ask if you do not know something. There are many people here who want you to succeed,” said Megan. “Always make time for yourself, too. … Your health comes first!”

The UT Martin Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is regularly rated among the top nursing programs in the region. The nursing major is found in the Department of Nursing under the College of Education, Health and Behavioral Sciences.

For more information, contact the UT Martin Department of Nursing at 731-881-7131.

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