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DNP Testimonials

Rita BeckerBriefly explain your DNP project.
In children, acute otitis media (AOM) is often over diagnosed and otitis media with effusion (OME) is under diagnosed due to inadequate assessment. This results in inappropriate treatment and follow-up care for the child. Utilization of pneumatic otoscopy (PO) improves the diagnostic accuracy of AOM and OME. The purpose of my research study was to identify nurse practitioner (NP) knowledge, current use, barriers and attitudes related to PO. The study found that doctoral preparation and pediatric specialty certification increased familiarity with AOM and OME guidelines. Additionally, NPs are not consistently taught PO but are willing to learn the skill if provided the opportunity. Recommendations from my project included increasing the availability of PO training, as knowledge of skill has the greatest effect on practice. Additionally, instruction on AOM/OME guidelines and PO should be provided to NPs. Cost of equipment was identified as a barrier to PO use and is considered a knowledge deficit; addressing this may improve PO utilization.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
I plan to work as a primary care PNP at a NP-led, federally qualified health center. Additionally, I plan to pursue research and publication, as well as become involved with my local chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The UI College of Nursing provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary to translate evidence into practice and to succeed as a leader in an increasingly complex system. The UI College of Nursing also provided me with a top-ranked program and excellent faculty that were invested in my learning and interests. Due to the program, faculty, preceptors, and support, I feel well prepared to begin practice as a DNP-prepared nurse and to provide quality, safe care to the pediatric population.

-- Rita Becker (DNP ’19) 

Lindsay BrownBriefly explain your DNP project.
For my DNP project, I implemented a quality initiative focusing on mechanical venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention interventions. The purpose of this initiative was to reduce the incidence of VTE among adult surgical patients in the main operating room at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC).  After implementation of the initiative, an increase in nursing knowledge of VTE prophylaxis measures and a decrease in VTE incidence were identified.  Prior to this quality improvement project, perioperative VTE incidence over time was not being tracked at UIHC but, through collaboration with quality and safety personnel, this is now being done.  This nurse-led initiative brought more consistency and evidence-based care to surgical patients.  Based on the results, this initiative was an appropriate first step for establishing a hospital-wide VTE prophylaxis protocol at this facility.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
After graduation, I have plans to work as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in the operating rooms at UIHC and the Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.  In the future, I would like to help educate student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) both in and outside of the operating room.  I also have plans to continue coordinating an annual regional anesthesia workshop for SRNAs.  I will be continuing to work with the perioperative nursing management team on the development of the VTE prevention initiative in the main operating room, as a step toward implementing a hospital-wide VTE prophylaxis protocol.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
I originally came to the University of Iowa College of Nursing in 2010 for my undergraduate education.  After obtaining my BSN and gaining experience as a bedside nurse in the intensive care unit at UIHC, I had no doubts about wanting to complete my advanced nursing education at the college where my career began.  The Anesthesia Nursing Program at the UI College of Nursing has provided me with countless opportunities to grow into a nursing leader. On top of the excellent didactic courses, the state-wide clinical experiences, mentors, and friends I have gained are something I would never trade.  I am excited to use and continue to build upon the knowledge and skills I have obtained over the years throughout my career as a CRNA.

-- Lindsay Brown (DNP ’19) 

Neha JacksonBriefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project is a quality improvement initiative aimed to improve postpartum depression screening within a pediatric location. This project was important to me not only due to the significance of the topic, but also due to my personal battle with postpartum depression. Pediatricians encounter moms more than any healthcare provider during the first year of the infant’s life. Therefore, it is the optimal setting to identify cases of postpartum depression. However, screening alone, is not sufficient. It is important- as with any screening- to ensure    adequate systems are in place for appropriate diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and follow-up. My project aimed not only to Increase the detection of postpartum depression using a validated screening tool within the project location, but also    instituted an electronic referral system to ensure pediatricians were equipped to refer these moms to obtain the help they need.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
As a new advanced practice nurse, my plans for the future involve providing the best care to my patients by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention. My career as a bedside nurse was in the intensive care setting and throughout the years I have learned the significance of primary care in this patient population. I believe that the foundation of one’s health begins in the primary care setting. Ensuring that patient’s conditions are well managed may prevent complications of chronic diseases that we too often observe in an acute care location.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The UI College of Nursing prepared my colleagues and I extensively for this new role. We were provided with the most up-to-date evidence based practices and guidelines. Our instructors were accommodating to unique situations and ensured that we were equipped with the resources we needed to succeed as future advanced practice nurses.

Anything else you would like to share.
Advancing my career as a nurse practitioner was a dream that my parents always had for me. Throughout this program, I incurred numerous roadblocks. During my third year of graduate school, we welcomed our beautiful daughter into our world. I knew that continuing my education was going to be not only difficult, but near impossible as I also had a full-time job. However, my daughter became my motivation for completing my education. With the support of my husband, my family, instructors, and colleagues I was able to overcome these challenges. 

-- Neha Jackson (DNP ’19) 

Eric LeadleyBriefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP project looked to implement a rarely performed practice in most primary care setting; male osteoporosis screening. Despite the evidence in support of male osteoporosis screening, insurance refuses to pay for male screening and providers continue to practice based on gender stereotypes of the disease. However, the Veteran Administration (VA) health care system does pay for these screenings, and I was lucky enough to have a preceptor in the VA system willing to mentor me in enacting this change. With help from my mentor and amazing advisory team at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, a male osteoporosis screening protocol based on recommendations from the National Osteoporosis Foundation was implemented at the Iowa Veterans Home. We screened 11 males in total, and 6 were found to have clinically significant bone density loss (1 osteoporosis, 5 osteopenia) and required treatment to stop or slow the degree of bone density loss. The project was deemed a success by all involved, and the practice will be passed on to my mentors replacement when she retires this fall.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
As of now I do not know where I will end up or what I will be doing. I know that wherever I end up though, I will come in with a phenomenal education, including experiences from various clinical rotations working with some of Iowa's best nurse practitioners. Along with the implementation of my own evidenced based project, I know that I am prepared to help tackle current and future issues in healthcare and provide excellent, evidence based care to all of the patients that I will serve throughout my career. 

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
My above comments speak a bit to the university's phenomenal program and my preparedness as a new nurse practitioner. It was a curriculum that challenged me and made me stay on top of the current evidence which is becoming the driving force of health care practice. Many of our professors are practicing nurse practitioners themselves, so they are well versed in current clinical practice and at times it feels like you are working with a college more than a professor which I believe is great for learning. It was also evident through the program that many of the professors are truly there for you and want you to do well, and many i'm sure would be willing to answer any questions or be a mentor well past graduation. Overall my experience has been great and I feel like I am well prepared to enter into the nurse practitioner role having gone through the University of Iowa. 

Anything else you would like to share. 
Great experience and I am happy that I choose the University of Iowa for my DNP education. 

-- Eric Leadley (DNP ’19) 

Tami MillerBriefly explain your DNP project.
For my DNP project entitled “Using Humidity to Decrease Insensible Water Loss in Premature Infants” I was able to develop and implement a humidity-based protocol from the best available evidence within a level II NICU for infants up to 32 weeks gestational age. Humidity aids in reducing insensible water loss and increased metabolic demands. Throughout my project there was an 11% reduction in weight loss observed with the use of humidity, which was clinically significant for infants who received humidity per the protocol. Through establishing an institutionally-approved protocol can assist in promoting a sustained practice change. My project demonstrated how humidity can be implemented in any level NICU for infants up to 32 weeks gestational age. My goal is to continue advocating the importance of this practice change within this population. I am currently collecting more data with future plans to publish my project.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
After transitioning to caring for the neonatal population 8 years ago I cannot imagine doing any other type of nursing, which is why I specialized within this area. I have such a passion for our tiniest patients and love seeing the impact of care when they are finally able to go home. My graduate education has expanded and strengthened my knowledge preparing me as I step into the advanced practitioner role. I am currently seeking opportunities as a neonatal nurse practitioner.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The University of Iowa does not only prepare an individual to become a strong advanced practitioner but they equipped individuals with great leadership qualities and capabilities. The focus on nursing leadership has enabled me with knowledge and skills to effectively assist in improving changes within practice policies to improve overall healthcare. Through the education and training received, I also possess stronger critical thinking and decision-making skills to accurately assess, plan and effectively communicate through collaboration to be a successful neonatal nurse practitioner. I am now a leader and advocate with the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide neonatal care alongside other healthcare providers. I cannot express my gratitude enough to the College of Nursing faculty for their advanced education and professional guidance. 

-- Tami Miller (DNP ’19) 

Jenna Nielson

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
With completion of the post graduate certificate program, I plan to continue in my current role as an Internal Medicine Hospitalist. The UI College of Nursing has allowed me to expand my knowledge for specialization in the acute care setting to provide growth within my career. I have learned leadership skills that have gained me opportunities not only in my career but in my personal life by use of time utilization  to focus on my family and my love for physical activity.

-- Jenna Nielson (DNP ’19) 

Emily SchultzBriefly explain your DNP project.
My DNP Project, “A Qualitative Evaluation: VA Mental Health Providers using a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program” gathered data from VA mental health prescribers to understand how the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) informs their clinical practice.  In addition to the identification of themes, barriers and facilitators, data was analyzed for a PMP program evaluation. This project supported the value of safe controlled substance prescribing in the VA by utilizing the PMP in psychiatric clinical care.

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
With my Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree, I will effectively diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe psychotropic medications and provide psychotherapy.  I have a special interest in treating veterans with dual diagnoses, and I have an interest in pursuing a waiver for prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder. 

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?

My DNP project abstract was recently accepted for presentation at the 2019 American Psychiatric Nurses Association National Conference in New Orleans. I am eager to share my findings on the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program with fellow mental health professionals.  The UI College of Nursing has provided continual support throughout my project development and additional scholarship funding for conference attendance. 

In addition to my doctoral nursing degree clinical requirements, the UI College of Nursing provided an opportunity to complete a clinical appointment as adjunct faculty.  My teaching role included clinical instruction and supervision of BSN students at UIHC 1JPW inpatient psychiatry.  Throughout my undergraduate and graduate education, I have benefited from the mentorship and scholarly expertise of the UI College of Nursing faculty.

Anything else you would like to share. 
We all have our own personal and unique stories.  A continual plot line in my life's journey is nursing.  Recently, I reflected, “why nursing”?I realized that the pursuit of nursing excellence is parallel with the values I desire to uphold.  Principles of holism, human dignity, integrity, altruism and justice are core components of nursing practice.These values have shaped and integrated with my worldview.  “Why nursing”?Advanced practice nursing provides an avenue for me to implement meaningful work for the good of others and my own personal regard.I am thankful to the UI College of Nursing for the significant contribution to my personal and professional development.

-- Emily Schultz (formerly Abbas) (DNP ’19) 

Jennifer WittmanBriefly explain your DNP project.

Project Title: Improving Assessment and Treatment of Pediatric Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care. 

I worked with a pediatric primary care office and implemented an evidence-based practice project.  The primary goals of the project were to incorporate a training program, screening implementation, and updated referral sources and resources for the providers to integrate mental health care into a primary care setting.  

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
Upon completion of my DNP programs, I will be a dual board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.  Ideally, I would like to utilize the full spectrum of my training to provide holistic care to families in a primary care setting.  I plan on staying in Iowa City, and after getting experience, I hope to be a preceptor for future nurse practitioner students who are attending the UI College of Nursing.  I will also be busy as the co-chair for the Iowa Nurse Practitioner Society Annual Fall Conference in 2019.

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
The UI College of Nursing prepared me for my role by providing exceptional leaders in both of my specialty program tracks.  I was given clinical locations that were challenging and exposed me to a wide range of opportunities to learn.  I feel supported leaving the program and know I can always contact my professors for encouragement and mentorship in my new role.  

-- Jennifer Wittman (DNP ’19) 

Heather RiesBriefly explain your DNP project.
The purpose of my DNP project was to implement an interdisciplinary professional governance structure at a small, independent 25-bed critical access hospital (CAH). A scaled version of a councilor professional governance structure was implemented at Regional Medical Center (RMC) within the current organizational structure. The aim of this project was to promote systems integration, partnership, equity, ownership, ingenuity, and accountability between nurses and other healthcare disciplines. The General Theory for Effective Multilevel Shared Governance (GEMS) was utilized to guide the project implementation using leadership strategies to improve outcomes and performance. The desired outcomes were to create a structure that strategically fits and aligns within the current organizational structure, fosters interdisciplinary team effectiveness, and improves employee engagement.  

Explain your future plans as a new advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.
I plan to stay in my current role as the Chief Nursing Officer at Regional Medical Center in Manchester, IA.  I was fortunate to have found this program that met me right where I was professionally and personally.  Everything I learned in the program was directly applicable to my CNO role at a critical access hospital.  

How did the UI College of Nursing prepare you for your new role?
This Doctor of Nursing Practice - Health Systems degree focused on the many aspects of healthcare administration and executive leadership.  I have met the best people as I completed this program.  The relationships I have made and the professional network I have built through this experience are irreplaceable.  

-- Heather Ries (DNP ’19) 

ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS