Robin Lawrence, BSN, Rn, CSRN
Baystate Medical Center
As a new graduate Registered Nurse I remember thinking, wow, there are so many options and opportunities for me as an RN, I never thought that would include a Doctorate. I remember thinking, a Masters maybe… What nurse hasn’t thought “oh man I can’t be standing on these cement floors for 12 hours a day when I’m 60 years old”, so a Masters was in the realm of possibilities, but a Doctorate??? Life has a way of providing chances and challenges we never anticipate, so here I am at the end of semester 3 of the Elm’s College Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and I keep thinking, wow, there are so many options and opportunities for me as a future DNP. I’m so excited to be part of the inaugural DNP class at Elms College, on this amazing journey with so many exciting and dynamic RN’s as my classmates and Professors. People ask, why a Doctorate? This is a question I’ve asked myself, why pursue a Doctorate when a Masters is the requirement for Nurse Practitioners? First off the DNP is about scholarship, a platform for nurses to expand their education, to fuel their thirst for knowledge and further critical thinking and practice. Furthermore the DNP program is helping me develop the critical skills needed to translate evidence-based care into practice, to improve systems of care, and to measure outcomes of groups of patients, populations, and communities. Classes are designed so that each student is truly competent in the Essentials of DNP practice; you can review the Essentials at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) site http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/DNPEssentials.pdf. All of this is great right? What does it actually mean to me as a practicing nurse? As the Coordinator for a busy procedural unit I see so many system failures that reach our patients, so many opportunities for improvement. As a DNP I will be poised with both the experience and the advanced education to be a leader and innovator for change. After so many years of working at the bedside I am ready to be a change agent at the system wide level without leaving my patients. The DNP is about leadership and advanced clinical practice, this is the most exciting for me. I’m a bedside gal, I will always be a passionate clinical provider and have felt that one of the barriers in healthcare is the disconnect between the clinical providers and leadership. As a DNP I will have the education, experience and respect needed to be heard at the leadership level.