Dr. Sandra Walker Nichols was raised in Monticello, Florida, graduating from Jefferson County High School in 1986. She completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at Florida State University including a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and English (1989), a Master of Arts in English (1991), a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (2004), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2005, cum laude), a Master’s in Nursing with a concentration in nursing education (2006), and a post-master’s certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner (2008). In December 2015, Dr Nichols was graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a post-master’s certificate as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
She began her nursing experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse at Capital Regional Medical Center, Tallahassee, FL from December 2005 through August 2008.
Concurrently, Dr. Nichols served in several teaching positions, including Assistant Professor, Division of Nursing, Thomas University, Thomasville, GA from August 2007 to August 2008. In this capacity, she was responsible for teaching a myriad of online and hybrid courses in the MSN and RN-to-BSN programs including Nursing Informatics, Nursing Research, Nursing Leadership, Curriculum Design & Development in Nursing Education, Teaching Strategies in Nursing Education, supervising nursing administration, and nursing education graduate student internships for the MSN program.
Additional subjects included Advanced Pathophysiology for Clinical Decision-Making, Women’s Health Issues, and Community Health and Community Health Practicum for the RN-to-BSN program.
In March 2010, Dr. Nichols received a Florida Board of Nursing (FBON) gubernatorial appointment as the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Member. She also served on the FBON Education Subcommittee and several Probable Cause Committees during her tenure. Responsibilities of the FBON include foremost protecting the public by establishing guidelines for discipline, reducing the unlicensed practice of nursing, and imposing discipline on nurses found to have violated the State Nurse Practice Act, setting fees for licensure, etc.
In conjunction with the State of Florida Health Care Practitioner Regulation, the FBON evaluates applications for licensure and examination, conduct board meetings, administers policy and determine probable cause in disciplinary actions, issue final orders in imposing discipline, review and approve continuing education providers and courses, and prepared electronic newsletters and other communications for licensees and other interested parties.
Since 2011 and across eight states, Dr. Nichols proficiently operated as a solo practitioner in several Emergency Departments as well as provided coverage for hospital admissions/transfers to the acute care facility for several Critical Access Hospitals. This included working with on-call physicians to provide comprehensive patient care for patients seen and treated in the Emergency Department. She functioned as a liaison with hospital management and nursing with providers in the group in the absence of the Medical Director. Contemporaneously, she maintained her ties to academia with Assistant Professor and Adjunct Faculty positions in Family Nurse Practitioner and RN-BSN Programs.
In 2020, Dr. Nichols was named Clinical Coordinator for the Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner Programs, Northern Kentucky University and the Concentration Coordinator for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner track. Additionally, after moving to Norfolk, Virginia with her husband and daughter for her husband to assume the role of Deputy Commander, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, she began a part-time private practice as a PMHNP in Virginia Beach, VA.
In addition to membership in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Dr. Nichols has pursued other academic credentials including a Narrative Medicine Certificate, Columbia University, New York, NY (2021); Addictions Certificate for Health Care Professionals, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions (2021); Emergency Medicine Certificate Program, West Virginia University School of Medicine (2011). She has presented her research in domestic and international conferences.
Dr. Nichols is married to Captain Todd Nichols, United States Navy, from Monticello, Florida. They reside in Norfolk, VA and she has three adult children, all of whom are alumna of The Florida State University as of December, 2020. Her favorite hobbies are reading (fiction and non-fiction), researching family history and genealogy, cooking, canning/preserving fresh vegetables/fruits, traveling, and meeting new friends as well as spending time with old friends. She enjoys her two Australian Shepherd dogs, Presley and Shelby, who are being trained as therapy dogs. She walks at least 3 miles every morning and is always looking for half-marathons that welcome walkers.