Kendall graduated from the Direct Entry Master’s (MSN) for Non-Nurses: Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program at Rush in 2016 and started the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PC PNP) in the Fall of 2018.
Kendall is currently a registered nurse II in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center.
What are your thoughts about gaining nursing experience before entering/applying for an advanced practice degree?
Although the GEM program provided me with an excellent education and foundation of nursing, I believe that the experience I have gained as a bedside nurse is invaluable and something that cannot be taught in the classroom. I have not only gained more healthcare knowledge but have also developed my people and problem solving skills which are vital to have in order to become an advanced practicing nurse.
What were important elements in your GEM program that you believe prepare you to succeed at a high level in an advanced practice program?
I believe that the various leadership courses and the opportunity to earn my Clinical Nurse Leadership certificate have helped me to succeed in my DNP program. Furthermore, working through the capstone project provided me with a strong foundation and insight into how to approach and work through the DNP project.
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 provided me with a very strong foundation in all areas of nursing. It was a unique opportunity to get a sneak peek into all the different paths that nurses can take. It was through those experiences both in the classroom and in clinicals that I was able to feel confident in my decision when choosing what specialty to go into for my doctoral program. Additionally, some of the classes from the GEM program counted toward my DNP. That not only shortens the length of the program, but sets GEM graduates up with more knowledge and a stronger background when entering the DNP program.
Describe your favorite aspect of the GEM program.
My favorite aspect of the GEM program was my immersion experience in the NICU. I learned so much during that time that prepared me for my career and I am fortunate enough to now work on the same unit. Immersion gave me a real glimpse into what working at the bedside is really like. It allowed me to work through areas of improvement and identify areas of strength. Most importantly, it set me up with the confidence I could carry over into my role as a registered nurse and made my student to RN transition seamless.