This weekend, she’ll graduate with a nursing degree from the University of Central Florida. She’s eager to help others stay healthy so they don’t become the medical examiner’s next case.

Monroe-Obermeit’s eight years of performing more than 3,000 autopsies and 500 death scene investigations, as well as a life-changing experience with a nurse practitioner, drove her to enroll in UCF’s College of Nursing.

“I saw too many deaths caused by people ignoring their diabetes or their heart conditions,” said Monroe-Obermeit. “In nursing, I absolutely love teaching patients how to avoid becoming a case at the morgue.”

Monroe-Obermeit will be among the 3,032 anticipated graduates this semester. Ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the UCF Arena.

During her four years on the Discovery Channel television show, Monroe-Obermeit battled her own health issues, which she said many doctors were not able to diagnose. She long suspected Cushing’s syndrome, a rare disorder that causes high levels of the hormone cortisol and results in a myriad of symptoms, including fatigue and weight gain.

It was a nurse practitioner who finally ordered radiological studies that helped her obtain the Cushing’s diagnosis and get treatment. Medical specialists then surgically removed a tumor from her pituitary gland. After treatment, she quickly lost 80 pounds. Her TV fans noticed and applauded her in fan mail and blogs.

“A nurse practitioner made a huge impact on my life by helping me obtain a very difficult and rare diagnosis,” she said. “The impact she had on me was inspiring. My dream is to be able to do that for just one of my patients in the future.”

Monroe-Obermeit, who already holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Anthropology from the University of Florida, will enter the new post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the fall to prepare for certification as a family nurse practitioner.