Briefly, tell us about your background leading to your current program of study.
In 2006, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, and then moved to San Diego, CA to begin my career as a Registered Nurse. I worked for four years at an academic medical center taking care of adult oncology patients. This work was the most challenging thing I had ever done, and simultaneously, the most rewarding. I quickly developed a passion for this patient population, and knew that it would become my life’s vocation. I had the opportunity to work closely with Nurse Practitioners. I admired their steadfast dedication to the patients and their families, and the advanced role they held in managing care. I appreciated the collegiality between the nurse practitioners and the oncologists, and as time progressed, more and more I could see myself taking on the role of a nurse practitioner.
How did you know you were ready to take this next step toward your educational goal?
After my first two years of working as an RN, I thought it would be beneficial for me, and in the best interest of my patients, to become a certified oncology nurse. In preparing for and taking the OCN exam, I gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of continued education. In addition, I found that I had more questions, and I wanted to gain in-depth knowledge pertaining to disease process and treatment of oncology patients. I reached a point where I felt I was a competent oncology RN, and with my desire to learn more, I knew I was ready to pursue an advanced degree.
Why this program, and why specifically at UW?
I chose the University of Washington School of Nursing due to its renowned reputation and dedication to excellence. I had a colleague that spoke to the high-caliber of the faculty, sharing that they were professionals who viewed their students as their future colleagues and as a result, were truly devoted to seeing their students succeed.
More specifically, I chose the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree because I saw it as the “way of the future.” I knew that I wanted a clinically focused degree, and I was drawn to the DNP because it is a comprehensive approach to advanced practice. It not only focuses on the clinical aspect of patient care, but also emphasizes the importance of leadership and inquiry, qualities that need to be nurtured in an ever-changing health care system.
What excites you most about this program?
I was/am most excited about studying at a university in a culturally-rich city, which provides a breadth of experiences to work in various settings and with individuals of all walks of life. Also, I was excited to come to Seattle to have an opportunity to work with a world-renowned, UW affiliated cancer center.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself as a student at UW?
I have learned how to approach challenges with a higher level of tenacity - knowing that I will not always have the answer, but having confidence in knowing that I have developed the skills to uncover an answer. In addition, as I have progressed through the program, I have grown from feeling like an “imposter” to owning my role as a professional amongst other health care providers.
What has pleasantly surprised you about your experience?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the genuine relationships I have formed, not only with fellow students, but also with faculty and individuals throughout the community. Since I was brand new to Seattle when I started grad school, I have greatly appreciated the connections I have made throughout my experience.
How is your UW education preparing you to meet your professional goals?
My future goal is to continue my work in oncology, soon in a new role as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. UW has provided me with a broad educational experience. Through my degree program, I have developed a firm foundation in primary care, and have also been given the opportunity to pursue my chosen track through my clinical placements. In addition, I feel the DNP degree will provide me with the skills needed to take on various roles throughout my career. The possibilities are ENDLESS!
Tell us about your experience with mentors.
Mentors have presented themselves in various roles… Seminar leaders, Faculty Clinical Advisors, Preceptors, Academic Advisors, and Committee Members. I had many mentors in undergrad, partly because we had a small program and I felt we had an opportunity to work closely with the entire faculty. I was a bit nervous about going to a large university, wondering if I would receive support. My worries quickly vanished as I met each of the abovementioned individuals. From the very beginning, I could sense that they were sincerely invested in my education, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Kumhee Ro, DNP, ARNP, has been my Faculty Clinical Advisor throughout my entire year of clinical experiences. She has been an ongoing source of support, offering priceless guidance and feedback, and showing a genuine interest in my progression through the program. She is someone that I could comfortably approach with concerns or questions, and someone that offered persistent encouragement. I GREATLY appreciate the role she has played in my education.