Hao McKenna at her graduation

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
I hope to work with the family practice setting. I believe the challenge and reward will be serving patients of all ages and seeing various illnesses.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The UI College of Nursing prepared me by providing experiences beyond the classroom and clinical setting. The ability to participate in an interdisciplinary classroom prepared me to work as a team. The opportunity to be at the capitol for the day informed and inspired me to be an advocate. These experiences provided me with a framework on how to practice as a provider and a leader.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective applicants?
The training and education you will receive at the UI CON will be focused and purposeful according to your specialty. Put in the work and time; I promise it will be worth it. Your faculty are there to teach and learn, so don't hesitate to share your knowledge and experiences.

-- Hao Mckenna (DNP '21)  

 

Teresa Munro

Briefly explain your DNP project.
I am thrilled to be joining Blank Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Hospitalist service.  I will be joining 6 other Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and 12 Pediatricians.  My role is unique in that I will rotate where I will be covering.  I will spend time at Blank Children’s Hospital pediatric inpatient unit, Methodist Des Moines newborn nursery, Methodist West Des Moines newborn nursery, and Fort Dodge Trinity Regional Medical Center pediatric inpatient unit and newborn nursery.  The fact that I have the opportunity to serve and practice in both an urban and rural setting in Iowa is unique and exciting as an NP. 

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
I have received an incredible education through the University of Iowa College of Nursing.  As the only student in my class of a Dual Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary and Acute Care, I often wondered if I was crazy and if it was going to be “worth it” in the end.  I am so thankful that I continued in this track.  I truly believe that this dual education has given me the most well-rounded and richest education possible.  I now know how to take care of healthy infants, children, and adolescents in addition, to critically ill infants, children, and adolescents.  Being able to recognize what is “normal” in the health of a pediatric patient is so important so that you can intervene when necessary.  I had incredible professors and clinical preceptors throughout my time at Iowa.  I truly believe that I had top-notch preceptors due to being an Iowa student and having my clinicals arranged for me.  My professors worked with me and honored my preferences to sites and settings for clinicals.  I was able to do a clinical in each major pediatric health system in Iowa at Blank Children’s Hospital, ChildServe, Mercy Des Moines Children’s Hospital, and University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital which made my clinical experience incredibly rich and diverse.  I feel well prepared and ready to enter the profession after my education at Iowa.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The first year I lived in Iowa City as I was working as a staff nurse at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. After my first year I decided that I wanted to move back home to Des Moines to be closer to family.  I was able to schedule the majority of my clinicals in Des Moines through the help of my professors.  The commute to campus for classes was doable.  COVID changed everything including how courses were formatted.  In my last year, courses that previously in-person were switched to synchronist online format via Zoom.  I loved this format because we were still interactive with our classmates and professors but did not have to drive 2 hours to sit in a classroom to do the same thing.  We still meet in person a couple times a semester for skills and vital in-person activities.  Being a distance learner was totally doable and COVID has changed a lot and maybe some things for the better for distance learners

-- Teresa Munro (DNP '21)  

 

Amber Young

Briefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project implemented an evidenced based guideline for the treatment of uncomplicated cystitis and asymptomatic bacteriuria. My project was implemented in two rural health family practice clinics in Iowa. The project took place over a 6-month time frame and included in-person education in groups and individual feedback based on monthly data. A pocket card with the guidelines was created for providers to use as an easy reference. Results included an increase in the number of recommended antibiotics prescribed per the guideline as well as an increase in knowledge and confidence of the guidelines.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
I am working full time in a rural family practice clinic. This includes rounding in several local long term and skilled care facilitates. My practice focuses on adults with a geriatric special interest.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The College of Nursing prepared me for my new role in various ways. There was a high expectation that challenged me to do my best work. I didn’t just learn the knowledge that I needed to pass my board exam. I learned practice and procedural skills, how to utilize resources, evidenced based guidelines, mentors, and be a political advocate. I learned a better understanding of how using a collaborative approach helps me care for the whole person, and how to best guide patients care through disease prevention, health promotion, and education. I had a wide range of clinical experiences which included urgent care, women’s health, internal medicine, geriatric family medicine and palliative care. All of these helped build on the knowledge from my coursework.

-- Amber Young (DNP '20)  

 

Becca Mischel

Briefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project focused on improving the identification of mental illness and substance abuse in the college student population as well as improving the rate of connection to treatment. I developed and delivered staff education sessions to increase the use of mental health screening tools. I also created a resource and referral toolkit that allowed providers to quickly provide resources and referrals to students that were diagnosed with mental illness or substance abuse issues. As a result of my project the rate of screening significantly improved and the student's connection to treatment also improved.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced nurse practitioner or nurse leader.
I am hoping to work within the Family Practice setting serving patients of all ages. I hope to be part of a team that works to improve care quality and outcomes of patients that are underserved and be actively engaged in process improvement projects.  

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The UI College of Nursing provided me with exceptional simulation experiences. I was also able to have clinical sites in a variety of practice settings with experienced preceptors that guided me to develop my skills as a nurse practitioner. The coursework was challenging and full of case studies and interactive discussion that allowed me to apply classroom concepts to real scenarios. The program also allowed me to learn about providing culturally competent care to diverse and rural populations. Faculty were readily available for support of my learning experiences. The program also provided me with education on quality improvement and leadership which will allow me to easily step into my future practice with the confidence and skills to help lead the practice to improve care delivery and outcomes.

-- Becca Mischel (DNP ’20) 

 
Erica Sloan

Briefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project, titled “Improving Knowledge of Early Intervention for Children when Autism is Suspected,” represented a partnership between pediatric primary care providers and the Anna Blank Developmental Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The aim of the project was to provide outreach to both pediatric providers and parents/caregivers of children referred for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) evaluation at the Developmental Center. Providers received training on local options for early intervention services and an early intervention resource guide to help roadmap the process. Families of children waiting for evaluations at the Developmental Center received this same resource guide and information about obtaining early intervention for their child prior to the ASD evaluation. The project was successfully implemented and remains in place at the Developmental Center.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced nurse practitioner or nurse leader.
I am very fortunate to be joining the dynamic and innovative team at the Developmental Center in Des Moines, Iowa. I will be seeing children referred for ASD, speech delays, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and other related conditions for both diagnostic evaluations and management. The Developmental Center recently moved into a state-of-the-art facility designed around the unique needs of the children they serve, and I look forward to learning from my fellow providers and assisting families in navigating these complex diagnoses.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The University of Iowa College of Nursing was the ideal institution to pursue my graduate goals. During my time there, I was mentored by two nurse leaders in the field of ASD care and was partnered with clinical preceptors who helped bring my didactic coursework to life. I appreciated the in-person class meetings and felt these helped to develop leadership, professionalism, and colleagueship.

-- Erica Sloan (DNP ’20) 

 

Hailey Waechter

Briefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project focused on a collaborative approach to weaning adult patients from mechanical ventilation (MV) in the intensive care unit (ICU). My project initiated a registered nurse (RN) and respiratory therapist (RT)-driven protocol implementing spontaneous awakening trials and spontaneous breathing trials to improve the extubation process with the goal of decreasing the duration of MV and ICU length of stay (LOS) without increasing risks to patients. The results of my project were substantial in showing a reduction in duration of MV by 38.6%, ICU LOS by 27.9%, a 50% reduction in 24-hour failed extubations, and was associated with cost reductions of approximately $7,000 per patient. These results are particular important given the current health care crisis and a need for mechanical ventilators. This project provided an opportunity to improve patient outcomes while leveraging RN and RT autonomy and advancing the profession.  

Explain your future plans as a new advanced nurse practitioner or nurse leader.
I have accepted a position as a cardiovascular intensive care unit nurse practitioner at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. My goal as a DNP is to work hard to improve the care of hospitalized critically ill patients and geriatric patients. I plan to get involved at a national level to make a nationwide impact on the care of the hospitalized adult. Additionally, I have plans of hopefully joining the University of Iowa as a professor for the AG-ACNP program after gaining clinical experience.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
During my four years at the University of Iowa I was fortunate to gain experiences and relationships that have helped grow my future career. The program helped me prepare for my new role as a nurse practitioner because of the clinical, classroom, and simulation experiences that provided me with a strong foundation to build on throughout my career. My program director, Dr. Stanik-Hutt, and assistant program director, Dr. Fowler, mentored and guided me to be a strong, compassionate, and knowledgeable provider at the highest level of nursing. By sharing their wisdom, expertise, kindness, compassion, and experience it helped prepare me for the workforce as a well-rounded and well-educated provider. My relationships built with faculty will continue beyond graduation and I know that I can count on them as colleagues and mentors for the rest of my career. I am thankful for my educational journey and proud to say that I’m an UI College of Nursing alumnus. Go Hawks!

-- Hailey Waechter (DNP ’20) 

 
Jenae Roseland

Briefly explain your DNP project.|
My DNP project involved improving antibiotic timing in febrile neutropenia for pediatric cancer patients with a central line on the inpatient unit of the Pediatric Cancer Center at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. Due to the high risk for infection and quick progression to sepsis in this population, national guidelines recommend blood cultures be obtained and broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotics be started within one hour of patient arrival. My project created an order set titled "FAST BREAK: Fever and Neutropenia Admission" which included the necessary lab, monitoring, and antibiotic orders needed within the first hour of admission. FAST BREAK eliminated variability in order placement from providers and expedited antibiotic delivery to the patient resulting in increased compliance in administering antibiotics within one hour in greater than ninety percent of inpatient fever admissions.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced nurse practitioner or nurse leader.
I am joining the team of providers in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital as a Critical Care ARNP. I am looking forward to applying the diverse knowledge and skills I learned during the Pediatric Acute Care program as I transition into the role of a nurse practitioner in a high acuity, fast paced setting.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The University of Iowa College of Nursing prepared me for this new role by allowing for students to specialize in caring for pediatric patients in the acute care setting through a wide variety of clinical experiences. This, in combination with the emphasis on evidenced based practice and leadership within the nursing profession, contributed to a well-rounded education that increased my competence as a provider and enhanced my critical thinking skills.

-- Jenae Roseland (DNP ’20) 

 

Kennedy LaVille Thoren

Briefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project was focused on integrating primary and behavioral health care in order to improve access to children's mental health care. I completed the first phase of implementation for a Collaborative Care Model pilot project in a pediatric primary care setting.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced nurse practitioner or nurse leader.
I will begin a position as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at a community mental health center in the Des Moines area. I will continue to work at a nursing college, as well, teaching undergraduate students as adjunct faculty. Lastly, I am eager to begin working more within professional nursing organizations and am looking forward to legislative advocacy.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
I knew I wanted to make a thoughtful, informed decision when applying to graduate colleges. The graduate programs at the University of Iowa stood out and I am grateful for my journey at the UI College of Nursing. The education, support, and opportunities at Iowa have prepared me well for my role as an advanced practice registered nurse. I have gained new skills and knowledge in advanced mental health nursing, advocacy, and health promotion. I feel confident and eager to take this next step as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

-- Kennedy LaVille Thoren (DNP ’20) 

ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS