With a rapidly growing need for primary healthcare services in our country, one occupation that has expanded to meet this new demand is the nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are responsible for administering patient care beyond the typical scope of a registered nurse.
We had the opportunity to talk to Rebecca Katz, a nursing student at Sacred Heart University who is pursuing the Family Nurse Practitioner-Doctor of Nursing Practice degree — here's what she had to say about her experience.
What initially sparked your interest in nursing?
My name is Rebecca Katz. I am from Norwalk, CT, and I attended Sacred Heart University (class of 2009) during my undergraduate years. I originally did general classes my freshman year as I was unsure I wanted to do nursing. I finally decided to apply to the nursing program [BSN] for the following sophomore year. I come from a family of nurses and took an interest in it mostly because my family felt they were making a difference in people’s lives with this career.
What led you to choose the Family Nurse practitioner focus?
I was interested in the FNP focus as opposed to other areas of advanced practice because I am interested in public health and improving patient care outcomes. I think this area of practice is a right fit for me based on my areas of interest.
What value do you think the DNP offers you, as opposed to an MSN?
I think the DNP degree opens more doors for opportunities in leadership as opposed to an MSN degree. Also, there is a feeling of accomplishment with this terminal degree.
I knew about the FNP-DNP program at SHU because Sacred Heart is my Alma Mater. I found that my undergraduate experience in the BSN program here was a positive one and wished to go back.
What do you most appreciate about the DNP program?
I mostly appreciate the professors and my primary care preceptor. I have had such a wonderful experience doing my clinical hours with him and have learned so much. I truly appreciate the time and effort he has put in with his students to help them transition into the health care provider role.
Describe the community at Sacred Heart University.
The community at Sacred Heart University — especially within the FNP-DNP program — has been motivating. Since my cohort is the first of the hybrid FNP-DNP, the members of my cohort have worked to support each other during the many changes throughout this program. It is essential to become close with your cohort because you are navigating the hard work together. Overcoming challenges together pushes us to keep going.
How has the FNP-DNP program helped prepare you to achieve your career goals?
My career dream is to work in infectious disease and public health. I still plan on continuing my education after this program so that I can expand my knowledge and participation in global health. The FNP-DNP program has helped me prepare for the future in several ways. First, I have a better understanding of the gaps in various aspects in healthcare. Second, I have become more comfortable in public speaking.
What advice would you pass along to a prospective student?
Although the program is challenging, you can do it! The FNP-DNP program is meant to be challenging, otherwise, everyone would do it.
Also, make friends and stay close to your cohort for support. Doing so will help you academically, professionally, and personally!
Join the SHU Nursing Community
Housed within the Davis & Henley College of Nursing, Sacred Heart University (SHU) offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization. This degree is specifically designed for graduates of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program who wish to acquire the skills, experience, and expertise to work as advanced practice nurses in primary family-centered care.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are four indicators of quality in a doctor of nursing practice program: 1) faculty characteristics, 2) faculty and practice, 3) practice resources and clinical environment resources, and 4) academic infrastructure. The FNP-DNP program at Sacred Heart University far surpasses the minimum standards for each of these indicators of quality, providing graduates with a strong educational and experiential foundation for their clinical practice.
If you're interested in learning more about joining the SHU Nursing community, we encourage you to request more information today!