David Colvin
  • David Colvin, 58, DNP candidate, Washington State University College of Nursing.
  • Expects to graduate in May with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.
  • Works at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville, Washington.

You’re a ‘nontraditional’ student – tell us about that?

“I was a public-school teacher for about seven years, then an online high school science and math teacher for 17 years. I went back to school when I was 50 and just went straight through at WSU.”

Why nursing?

“I think nursing is a career where your age is not a liability. From what I’ve found, it’s seen as a positive thing. You have more life experiences and you can relate to the patients a little bit.”

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Where do you work now?

“I work at Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville as a nurse. I’ve been there four years and have been going to school the whole time.”

What attraction does that area have?

“I live in Gifford, southwest of Colville. It’s not even a town; it’s basically just a post office. We moved up from California about 15 years ago. I like rural living, small towns. I don’t like living in the city.”

What do you want to do when you receive your DNP?

“There are some options in the area – clinics that are medically underserved (for primary care.) There’s a huge need for providers and a lot of interest in nurse practitioners.”

Explain your DNP project?

“My project has to do with patient handoffs from one provider to another. I did an assessment of how handoffs are performed at Lincoln Hospital in Davenport, a rural, critical-access hospital. It was good timing; it was something they wanted to focus on, but they didn’t know where they stood. What I found is that handoffs were all over the place – some at the nurses’ station, some in the hallway, some at the bedside. Nothing was really standardized. It’s the gold standard to use some sort of tool like a checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything, and that’s something I’m looking at in terms of improvement.”