Having It All . . . Almost

Marie Prothero (MS ‘96) has attended Weber State, BYU-I (Ricks), BYU, and the University of Utah. She has a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and is now working on a PhD in nursing. She has been a nurse, the CEO of a hospital, Director of Patient Care Services, and more. She has been happily married for 36 years and is a mother of two and a grandmother of six. How can she possibly have done so much in her life? Prothero says, “The one thing that I sacrificed over the years was my sleep.” 

Although she’s been skimping on shuteye since she had her first baby in the middle of her undergraduate schooling, it’s taken more than missing sleep for Prothero to reach her goals. She says that having support has been a key to her success. “Whenever I had a dream or a pursuit of further education, [my husband] always helped me find a way to make that happen and never told me no,” Prothero says. His attitude was, “Tell me what you need me to do,” and, “I want you to be able to pursue this education.” From doing all of the family grocery shopping to just being “right there in the thick of it,” with the kids, her husband’s support was a game-changer.

Prothero hasn’t just been supported by her husband. She has received many scholarships from the universities she has attended and had employers who supported her educational and professional goals. Her connection to BYU has been especially helpful. Prothero says, “When you have this connection to BYU Alumni, there are times when people can help you in your pursuit of your career . . .  I was looking for another job, I reached out to this former [BYU] classmate of mine . . .  and she said, ‘Hey, there is this great opportunity at St. Mark's. You would be perfect for it.’ [She] helped me get that job.” Most recently, Dean Patty Raver of the BYU College of Nursing encouraged Prothero to follow her dream of getting a PhD, even though Prothero is further along in her career than a typical candidate.

Even with so much support, Prothero has had to prioritize her time. She makes sure that every Friday night is free for date night with her husband, even if it’s just grabbing a burger and fries. When her children were at home, they always ate dinner as a family. Prothero speculates, “If you were to talk to [my kids] today and ask them what it was like for their mom to go back to college when they were young, they would have no memory of it because . . . I'd usually make it home by dinner time, and they never saw me do homework because I would do it when they were in bed asleep.” Even with little free time left, she has always been diligent in her church callings. “I need the blessings!” she laughs.

“There is a time and a season for everything,” says Prothero. “I had applied for a PhD program when my kids were still at home, and I didn't get in. . . . I needed to be home with my kids and I needed to be helping them with stuff. If I had gotten into that PhD program, I would not have been home. So, I think that our Heavenly Father gives us things along the way when the timing is there. And we don't always see it until years later when [we] can look back on it.” Now that the time is right for her PhD, though, she is loving it. She is currently researching the effects of mistakes and apologies in the medical field.

Prothero works hard because she loves what she does. When she started college, she wanted to be a microbiologist. After volunteering for a week in the research department at the hospital in Rexburg, she realized that research and microbiology weren’t for her. She was reassigned to help the nurses, and Prothero says, “That was where I fell in love with nursing, and knew that that was my life calling to be a nurse, and to care for people who are sick and afflicted, and to help them in their recovery process.” And it’s been love (and no sleep) ever since.

Full Name: 
Marie Mellor Prothero
Grad Year: 
MS 1996
College: 
Nursing
Major: 
Nursing
Author: 
Mackenzie Sinclair Brady
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