On her first day of class as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) student in Southern California, Manuela Orban knew it was a stepping stone degree.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner,” Manuela said. “And I wanted a terminal degree. In reviewing my graduate program options, the DNP was the best fit so I could gain the skills and knowledge to teach and provide patient care, while still understanding the bigger picture of health care systems.”
Now enrolled in the DNP program at the college, Manuela is less than one year away from completing her degree and is working on her final DNP Project. During her course work, she completed the required clinical hours at Family Medical Care in Hayden, ID, where one of the physicians there provided her with inspiration for her final DNP project. Manuela will be evaluating the clinic’s weight loss program and its effectiveness – something that has never been done at the clinic.
“When I was assigned the final DNP project, I spoke with Dr. Torquato here about identifying an area I can investigate for the clinic. We brainstormed using it as a means to evaluate the clinic’s weight-loss program for patients. Dr. Torquato is so passionate about health promotion, nutrition and exercise. He has had success with the program, though he never was able to capture how well it worked,” Manuela said.
For her final project, Manuela is reviewing patient data from those who have completed the program in the last four years. She’ll analyze various patient markers, including BMI, hemoglobin, blood pressure and glucose levels, and see how they have changed while enrolled in the program. Using this data, she’ll compare it to national standards and published literature around what success looks like in these programs.
“It’s basically a huge meta-analysis of a weight-loss program. What’s exciting about it for me is that I’m learning how to evaluate these types of programs, and the clinic is gaining important information and feedback,” she said.
Manuela anticipates completing her DNP degree by December of this year. And what is next for her?
“Right now, all of my energy is going into finishing course work for this degree! From there, I will evaluate,” Manuela said.