Skip to main content

GEM Alumni Profile: Joi Henry

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

Before becoming an advanced practice nurse, it is essential to gain experience as an RN. Even though I did not start my career as a bedside nurse, I do understand the value of learning assessments skills. Nurses should be able to recognize and quickly react when patients are experiencing a medical complication whether it is related to physical or emotional health. These skills can only be perfected through experience and practice.

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 allowed me to utilize and develop my critical thinking skills as well as learn what it means to collaborate with a healthcare team. The GEM program has also challenged me academically which set a foundation for my clinical practice. After leaving the GEM program, I felt I was ready for the workforce and to strive to become a leader on my future unit.

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

The GEM program prepares its students by setting a foundation of critical thinking, strong leadership skills, and an academic curriculum preparing students to be exceptional RNs. As a new DNP student, I can’t speak to the GEM to DNP structure because I have not started the program yet. However I feel confident starting the DNP program due to the skills I received in the GEM program and the training I have received as an RN.

Describe your favorite aspect of the GEM program.

The GEM program provided many opportunities to network with other nurses and faculty. My mentors paved a way for me to network and meet other nurses which led me to my first job at Rush as an adolescent psychiatric nurse. During the GEM program I also had many opportunities to volunteer and take advantage of professional development and present at the American Public Health Association conference as a student.