Doctor of Nursing Practice
“The quality of the faculty that I have encountered has been remarkable. Having many faculty members at the top in their fields has been very inspiring to me, and I have valued being able to learn from their world experiences and depth of knowledge.”
Cindy Kellett was a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at a hospital in Duluth, Minn., before she decided to accept a public health nurse position with the Carlton County Public Health Department in Minnesota. “I really came to love and respect the work that public health does and the importance of primary prevention. I have become passionate about these areas,” said Kellett. In her public health position, she received training in infant mental health, which includes basic parent/infant attachment and bonding that is vital to an infant’s social emotional development. “This became very appealing to me, along with general mental health,” said Kellett.
When the time was right for her to start the process of obtaining an advanced practice nursing degree, she decided to pursue studies in public health nursing and the University of Minnesota stood out with its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. “As I researched graduate programs, it was clear to me that the shift to a DNP degree was happening and this was the direction to take,” said Kellett.
At the time that Kellett applied to the DNP program she did not have direct experience working in mental health. That changed when a position opened up to provide support to people in the community who had severe and persistent mental health issues. “I learned of my personal ability and satisfaction in working with this population,” said Kellett. After some thought, she explored the possibility of adding the psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner specialty and she eventually decided to move forward with the dual specialty. “I have really connected to this addition and feel it was a very good decision. I am now very excited and looking forward to working as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner,” said Kellett.
As a student, for her scholarly project, Kellett completed a community assessment of the needs of adolescents in a nearby rural community and found that there was concern about unmet mental health needs. Kellett then developed a mental health educational program that she implemented in health classes at the high school, teaching nearly 100 seventh and eighth-grade students about mental health.
Kellett said she is thankful she chose the School of Nursing for her graduate studies. “The quality of the faculty that I have encountered has been remarkable. Having many faculty members at the top in their fields has been very inspiring to me, and I have valued being able to learn from their world experiences and depth of knowledge,” she said.
She is expected to graduate in May 2014. “When I tell others that I am seeking a DNP degree, professionals are impressed by this and respectful of the education that I am seeking,” said Kellett. “My public health specialty has deepened my connection to public health and I anticipate using the skills I have learned in leadership positions in the future to improve the health of those with mental health issues. I hope to be able to work at a systems level to impact positive changes in mental health systems in greater Minnesota.”