This month we focus our blog the Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) program. We have offered an NP program at Missouri State for over eighteen years and have recently transitioned the previous Masters level program into the Doctorate level program it is today.
The program is overseen by Program Director, Dr. Susan Berg, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC who recently sat down to discuss the 100% AANP exam pass rate on first attempt for the 2013 academic year. The AANP exam is a required national certification to become a Nurse Practitioner “This isn’t the first year for the FNP program to receive high scores” she states. “Our program has been in existence for eighteen years, with sixteen years’ worth of pass rates. Fifteen of those years have received a 100% first attempt pass score.” Those scores reflect the reason why our DNP program is such the success it is today. We have consistently scored higher than the national average in every category on the test.
Dr. Berg has been with the department for seven years. Are you curious to know what a “Day in the Life” is like for this DNP Program Director? Read on to see excerpts from a candid interview…
What is your typical day like?
“A typical day for me consists of replying to prospective and current graduate students e-mails, planning admissions, orientations, marketing, recruiting, graduation, preceptor events, planning and attending committee meetings. Creating/revising courses and lectures. I spend time keeping up with NP alumni by phone, e-mail, text. It is not unusual for an alumni to call to ask me a clinical or networking question. Much of my time is spent ensuring ways to make our students successful, making sure we are teaching with the current evidence-based materials and information, and giving them the best clinical education possible. I also help to manage MSU care, our NP run clinic at the Kitchen Medical Clinic.”
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
“I was in the Naval Reserve for eleven years as a NP. Growing up in the DFW area, I am an avid Dallas Cowboys fan. Football season is my favorite time of year. I have been to most Indian reservations and national parks in the West. I wasn’t accepted into the Mizzou nursing program the first time I applied. I was on a waiting list and did end up making it in. I was a waitress at a restaurant in Branson when I had my first child at age 20. I became aware that I had to make the changes in my life to keep my goals in line with being a nurse and having a career that I could rely on myself. I am most proud of my BSN degree because I was not confident that I could do it being a single mom.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“As far as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. With this job I do both and absolutely love it. It is my dream job.”
When or how did you select your current academic field/specialty?
“I started nursing school at the University of Texas Pan American-on the Mexico border and finished my BSN at the University of Missouri. I started my RN career in cardiology and my goal was to be a flight nurse. I soon learned my motion sickness prevented this as an option so after three years as a RN I went to NP school here at (then) SMSU. I job shadowed CRNA and NP’s and decided the NP track was the right fit for me. I got into academics after doing some guest lecturing and found that I really enjoy the research and the preparation to present the best information to the students.”
If you could go back and give advice to your college self, what would you say?
“You are doing a good job, keep up the hard work, it will be worth it. I have always prided myself on the 4.0 mentality. I wish I could go back and tell myself that it is ok to focus on the A but more important to focus on the understanding of the material, not just what the teacher wants for the A. I set aside blocks of time similar to a full-time job for studying when I was going through my BSN and that really paid off for me.”
Give one great book recommendation.
“The Hot Zone by Richard Preston about Ebola virus is very interesting and peaked my interest in communicable disease.”
To someone in a non-academic field, how do you describe your research/job?
“It is basically looking at the science and research that has already been proven to be effective and determining if that research can be applied in a clinical setting in our area. I advise students on this type of research which is called translational research. Applying what is known to work into the clinical setting and evaluating that it made a difference. My particular interests are vestibular (inner ear) disorders and issues pertaining to cultural competence in healthcare.”
What are you currently interested in that’s not related to your field?
“I love all things forensics. I read only non-fiction books for pleasure and most of them have a forensic theme. I watch mysteries, 48 hours, dateline investigates, etc. I love to travel. I have been to most of the states in the continental US. I also spend most of my free time right now traveling the country to support my two children that are in college wrestling and competitive cheerleading.”
To find out more about the DNP program and its requirements, visit the website at http://www.missouristate.edu/nursing/doctor/default.htm.