Mitchell graduated from the Direct Entry Master’s (MSN) for Non-Nurses: Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) at Rush in 2017 and started the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) program in the Summer of 2018.
Mitchell is currently a registered nurse II on the General Medical Surgical Unit at Rush University Medical Center.
What are your thoughts about gaining nursing experience before entering/applying for an advanced practice degree?
Having nursing experience prior to applying to a DNP program not only helped me understand the field of nursing, but it allowed me to become proficient in time management at work and in my personal life. Especially if you plan to work full time, having a grasp on nursing makes the transition into a program smoother.
What were important elements in your GEM program that you believe prepare you to succeed at a high level in an advanced practice program?
While having a good understanding of pharm and pathophysiology will definitely prepare you well for a DNP program, the GEM program stresses the importance of critical thinking. Being able to think about highly complex patients and situations will ensure you are able to holistically treat patients at an advanced level.
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 not only gives you a strong nursing foundation, but focuses on research and academic writing which will benefit any transition to a specialty program.
Describe your favorite aspect of the GEM program.
The program is intertwined with the medical center which provides practical clinical experiences with instructors that both teach and practice. Having educators that are highly involved with the practice of nursing, as well as the academic side of nursing provides real world experience and education.