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GEM Alumni Profile: Breanne Rimkus

What are your thoughts about gaining nursing experience before entering/applying for an advanced practice degree?

Experience through nursing practice truly allows the material learned in didactic coursework to be applied in a clinical setting. It's a great feeling when I am studying and can draw from a previous experience I have encountered, and use that scenario to drive home the material I am reading about in my classes. Not to mention, the skills enhanced by working with the interdisciplinary team help to identify one's strengths and limitations, which become even more apparent as one gains more roles and responsibilities.

What were important elements in your GEM program that you believe prepare you to succeed at a high level in an advanced practice program?

The GEM program emphasizes leadership, evidence-based practice, and clinical research, which has translated well into the coursework I have encountered thus far within the DNP program. During my time in the GEM program, I participated in a clinical rotation where I worked alongside a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, which I believed further solidify my choice to pursue a degree as an advanced practice nurse. GEM coursework aimed at developing an ongoing professional portfolio is further built upon in the DNP program, and I know my comfort with this material comes from the GEM program.

What are your thoughts about the GEM to DNP structure, that is, a strong generalist master's foundation progressing to a specialty doctoral focus?

A prior GEM student is already versed on the excellence expected by Rush University professors and can utilize prior education and experiences in research and leadership practices to build-upon this foundation. The research and scholarly writing skills emphasized during the GEM program are wonderful additions to one's toolbox during the DNP program, and provide a robust foundation of the basic understanding for strong research and writing competency. One wonderful benefit of the GEM to DNP structure is the application of select coursework to the individualized DNP program of study, which helps lessen a course load for certain semesters. One can also take classes as a student-at-large while working as a Registered Nurse which can be applied to the DNP program of study.

Describe your favorite aspect of the GEM program.

The opportunities for leadership and community involvement encouraged during the GEM program help you as a budding registered nurse to network with Rush University and Rush University Medical Center colleagues. Faculty and staff genuinely care about the students' professional development and long-term career goals, helping foster experiences that help students to meet their objectives. Whether it’s through networking, university events or clinical rotations, the GEM program targets students' interests and helps prepare them for a successful nursing career.