“I see the DNP filling a need in primary care. As fewer medical students specialize in family practice, nurse practitioners are in a perfect position to help fill that gap. It is a good time to be moving in that direction.”
David’s first degree was in biology and he spent the first 25 years of his career teaching middle school and high school students. He decided he wanted a career change, and nursing seemed like a natural progression. He enrolled at the college and graduated with his BSN in 2013. David is now in his first semester of the DNP FNP Program at WSU Spokane and already has a clear vision of what he will do with his advanced degree: work to improve the patient’s transitions (transitional care) from acute care settings to home.
Where are you from?
I am originally from California but I moved here with my wife and children 10 years ago. We live in Gifford, WA.
Tell us a little about your background and nursing career. What led you to your current area of study?
My first degree is in biology and I especially like marine ecosystems. I began teaching in California in 1987 at the middle-school level. I moved from there to an alternative high school program for at-risk students. While education on the Internet was just beginning to bloom around 1995, I became involved with a private online high school program. I left the public school and worked with this program until 2014. I was teaching biology, chemistry, and math during that time. Nursing is a natural place for a biologist to go.
What do you hope to do with your DNP degree?
I’m really not sure where this is going. I have learned to follow a path and see where it goes. I will figure it out when I get there, but I assume it will be family practice in a clinic or perhaps home health.
What are you focusing on for your DNP project and why are you passionate about it?
I am just starting the program, but I am thinking about the concept of transitional care from the acute care setting to home. I am interested in this because a few years ago my wife had some major surgery and she was really left with no care afterward. I would like to look at ways to improve this.
Why did you choose to obtain your DNP from WSU College of Nursing?
I just finished my BSN and I wanted to continue advancing my education here. The instructors are very supportive and the atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable.
How do you see nurses filling the need in our changing health care system?
I see the DNP as filling a need in primary care. As fewer medical students specialize in family practice, nurse practitioners are in a perfect position to fill the gap. We have a holistic approach and patients trust us. It is a good time to be moving in this direction.
What impact will advanced degree nurses have on the nursing shortage?
I think it will bring more people into nursing and they will want to move on to an advance degree more quickly than in the past. The expansion of the advanced degree will show people the possibilities in nursing as a career.
Who has been an important mentor in your career and why?
My instructors here at WSU have been good mentors. They have modeled the compassion as well as the science of nursing. I have also been blessed to work with excellent nurses in my job who provide quality care and exemplify a team approach.
How has your nursing career changed or influenced your life?
It has broadened my horizon to include a multitude of possible work options, which is another thing that drew me to nursing. I have realized that the possibilities go beyond the normal concept of nursing. It’s a great new adventure that has opened a lot of possibilities.