Jennifer Jordan ’13, ’19 earned her DNP degree from Elms in spring 2018. After passing her certification board exam, she joined a local private practice as a family nurse practitioner.

Breaking Boundaries

If there is one word that captures Jennifer Jordan’s career as a nurse, it would be “versatility.” The Belchertown, MA resident has steadily worked her way up through the ranks over the past 20 years, starting out as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), advancing to the registered nurse (RN) level, and then earning a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree at Elms College in 2013.

Photo of DNP-FNP grad Jennifer Jordan '18

Her journey came full circle in spring 2018, when she completed the family nurse practitioner (FNP) track of the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. In June 2018, Jennifer passed her FNP certification board exam.

“This has been almost a 20 year journey, if you think about it,” she said. “This is how it worked for me. That’s the beauty of nursing — you can start in one place, and then become a doctor of nursing practice.”

The main factor that motivated Jennifer to pursue the DNP was gaining the ability to autonomously manage her patients’ health.

“The one piece that I’ve felt like I was prevented from doing,” she said, “was that provider piece.”

“It started to become more difficult, especially when I was working with patients that I felt like I could get them to the next level, if I wasn’t held back,” she added. “So, I needed to go beyond the boundary of a registered nurse at that point.”

The Move to Private Practice

The Elms DNP program helped Jennifer transcend her professional boundaries and elevate her practice. It also fulfilled her desire to achieve parity with other health professions that grant doctoral degrees, such as physical therapy and chiropractic medicine. Even more importantly, however, earning her degree helped Jennifer land her dream job at Atkinson Family Practice in Amherst, MA.

Dr. Kate Atkinson, the owner of the practice, “actually got on one knee and proposed, and asked me to be her doctor of nursing practice,” Jennifer said. “Can you imagine being asked like that? How honored am I, how privileged am I? So of course I accepted.”

‘I got my dream job, and it’s because of Elms. They invest in you from day one.’

Jennifer’s enthusiasm for her new job also stems from acting as a leader in the local community. Due to the high number of colleges and universities in the Amherst area, her patients tend to be incredibly informed about their health management options, she said. To effectively deliver care for this unique patient population, shared decision making will factor prominently into her leadership style, she added.

Photo of DNP-FNP graduate Jennifer Jordan '18

Even though she admits that the DNP program was one of the most challenging experiences she has ever had, Jennifer insists that the quality of education at Elms made the difference in her career preparation.

“I got my dream job, and it’s because of Elms,” she said. “They invest in you from day one.”

“What the school is doing is raising the bar,” she added. “I think that there is an expectation that when you’re in practice that your provider is as highly trained and skilled as possible. And I think that’s what Elms is doing.”