“To get something out of your education, you have to put something in,” says Elizabeth Swinny, D.N.P., A.P.R.N., F.N.P.-C., C.C.R.N. A 2020 Wilkes grad, Swinny advises D.N.P. students to be resilient and flexible to reach their goals. “Perseverance and resilience are mandatory.”
A colleague of mine was enrolled in the D.N.P. program at Wilkes and spoke very highly of the curriculum and faculty, so my decision was based on a credible recommendation. I had researched four other programs before deciding on Wilkes; it was definitely the right choice for me.
Why did you want to get your D.N.P. degree?
I was actively practicing as an F.N.P., but I wanted to advance my education and broaden my career. A D.N.P. degree is the most advanced level of education a practicing nurse can achieve. I knew that earning this degree would afford me more opportunities to have a “seat at the table.” In this leadership role, I can successfully collaborate with diverse, interdisciplinary teams to improve population health outcomes, develop new systems for quality improvement, address health care policy for real change and much more.
What types of skills did you learn in the program?
I found the global population focus and leadership skills to be the most interesting and worthwhile for my career growth. Health care is shifting its focus from individualized health to the health of targeted populations. The skills I gained from the program will help me as a leader so that I can assess the social determinants of health across diverse populations, provide appropriate delivery models, improve outcomes, promote wellness and prevent disease.
Did you take a final exam or complete a research project?
This program requires an individual research project to earn your terminal degree. My project focused on a protocol to prevent rebound hyperglycemia in diabetes-related hypoglycemia treatment. The project afforded me the opportunity to build important community relationships with leaders in the healthcare community, and to achieve important outcomes to improve quality patient outcomes.
Was the faculty supportive?
The faculty provided feedback in a very timely manner, which is important because this program moves fast. They were always positive and ready to help.
How was your enrollment experience?
It was easy! The process seamlessly fit into my hectic schedule. My admissions counselor was very helpful and responsive.
What does a typical week look like for you?
I’m busy, and that’s why the flexibility of Wilkes’ online program appealed to me. As a practicing family nurse practitioner (F.N.P.) I manage patients with many chronic diseases and I specialize in health promotion. I am also a clinical instructor for nursing students, and I teach an associate nursing degree program. I specialize in diabetes care and mentor people living with type 1 diabetes.
What are your future goals?
Goal setting is very important to me. And with any goal, it’s important to be specific. I currently specialize in diabetes as a practicing F.N.P. and plan to enhance my role by getting certified in diabetes management.
Any advice for other nursing professionals thinking about getting their D.N.P. degree?
Use your education to forge new relationships and to broaden your practice as a nurse.
To learn more about Wilkes University’s online D.N.P. degree program visit our program page
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