Doctor of Nursing Practice
"It is satisfying to contribute my professional nursing prospective in the public health arena, and I’m looking forward to doing much more after I graduate.”
A conversation with a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing was the spark Jennifer Heath needed to apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. “After talking with her, I realized the incredible need for doctorally-prepared nurses in public health, and I knew that I wanted to be involved,” said Heath.
Heath earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Minnesota Rochester in 2009 and later earned a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2011. Her education prepared her for a position at the Minnesota Department of Health, where she is a nurse specialist in the immunization program. She spends most of her time working on initiatives that will help increase vaccination coverage in the state, which includes working with health care providers to ensure they are up-to-date in immunization practices, crafting clear and easy to understand education for the public, and working with programs that provide vaccine to uninsured and underserved populations.
She chose to obtain a DNP degree at the University of Minnesota because of its strong focus on both nursing and public health. “I have always been attracted to the idea of health interventions on a population level. After I started my master’s degree, I realized that we have a solid body of evidence on ways to improve public health, but we don’t always have the mechanisms to implement these interventions. I really wanted to take action, and a DNP degree in public health nursing was the perfect fit,” said Heath.
As a DNP student, she has been impressed with her professors. “I count myself extremely lucky to have been able to gain several mentors in the program. Furthermore, because of the experience of both the faculty and my colleagues in the program, I have been able to walk away from every class with applicable skills and new ideas,” said Heath.
Heath is expected to graduate in in May 2014. “Although I’m not finished yet, gaining this new skillset has already allowed me to be a serious participant in leadership groups in my work. It is satisfying to contribute my professional nursing prospective in the public health arena, and I’m looking forward to doing much more after I graduate,” said Heath.