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Your Seamless Transition From the GEM Program to an Advanced Practice DNP or PhD Degree
About Rush University

Many of our incoming students tell us their ultimate professional goal is to become an advanced practice nurse. One benefit of the GEM program is that it gives the student a broad overview of all of the major specialties in which nurses work, as well as a variety of settings across the health care continuum. Your experience as a GEM student will help you discern what specialty area you like best so you are confident progressing to the next step in your professional career. 

There is a national trend underway in nursing education for all advanced practice programs (i.e., NP and CNS) to move to the DNP degree level by 2015. Rush has already made this change so the logical progression for our students is to first become a master’s (MSN) prepared generalist nurse (RN) and then move to doctoral preparation as an advance practice nurse.

The GEM program allows for a seamless transition to doctoral education in either the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program or the Doctor of Philosophy in nursing science (PhD) program. Why is it seamless? Because the GEM student has already taken the graduate core courses required for their doctoral program as part of the GEM program.

Thus, a GEM student who chooses to continue their education and earn either a DNP or PhD degree will be able to gain valuable experience working as a RN while spending less time and money completing their advanced degree.

Upon graduation you can take doctoral level courses while beginning work as a RN.  As an example, a GEM student who wishes to continue their education in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program could complete that program of study part-time in a little over 3 years while working full-time as a RN.

We believe the marketability of NP/DNP graduates is enhanced if they have had some experience working as a RN prior to completing their doctoral degree. In addition, hospitals generally have tuition reimbursement programs for RNs so a portion of the doctoral program would be paid for by the employer. Rush University Medical Center’s tuition reimbursement program is particularly generous in that it pays for 9 credit hours per term for full-time RN employees.  

The faculty of Rush University College of Nursing believes the educational programming we have created provides the best path to doctoral preparation.

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner (DNP): Hear from GEM Alumni - Hear from four direct entry master's (MSN) for non-nurses: generalist entry master's (GEM) clinical nurse leader (CNL) graduates and their impression of Rush's GEM program. They are able to give unique insights into the benefits of starting your nursing career at a master's level and then progressing to a Nurse Practitioner DNP program.

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