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GEM Alumni Profile: Julia Britto

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

Experience working as a registered nurse before pursuing an advanced practice degree is necessary to build confidence, critical thinking, and clinical skills. Clinical practice also prepares you to better communicate and work as a member of an interdisciplinary team, an essential part of being an advanced practice nurse. Since graduating from the GEM program I have had the opportunity to work in various clinical settings. This exposure has enabled me to feel confident in my decision to pursue a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

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

Throughout the GEM program you are constantly interacting with practicing APN’s, whether as members of faculty, clinical instructors, or as APN’s you encounter during your clinical rotations. This exposure introduces you to the role of an APN in various settings and allows you to see firsthand their impact on healthcare and education. The GEM program also focuses on preparing us to be leaders in our field. This emphasis motivates you and better prepares you to continuously advance as you move through your career.

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 structure better prepares you for the heavy course load and academic requirements of the DNP program. By having already taken several, transferable courses during my time as a GEM, my course load during my first year of the DNP program will be significantly lighter than that of my fellow cohorts.

Describe your favorite aspect of the GEM program.

The GEM program really set me up for success in my career. The faculty, besides being incredibly knowledgeable and insightful, was always available to help and seeking help was encouraged. The environment at Rush University Medical Center itself is conducive to learning. It is filled with practitioners, physicians, and nurses who enthusiastically want to teach and who encourage you to want to learn.