Doctor of Nursing Practice
“I have been able to translate what I am learning into my job as an RN and take with me as I am in various committees at work.”
After working as a registered nurse on the solid organ transplant floor at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for more than six years, Melissa Bitz decided it was time to advance her education. “As I started looking at nursing graduate school programs, it appeared to me that the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree was the degree that everyone was changing to, so I decided to get the DNP degree instead of the master’s degree so that I wouldn't have to go back later,” said Bitz. “Better to do it all at once.”
Bitz looked into several schools, but eventually chose the University of Minnesota because of the flexibility that the School of Nursing offered, as it is primarily an online program. “I work full-time and the online program allows me to be able to do the reading and homework each week at whatever time is convenient for me,” said Bitz. In addition, the school’s reputation was a draw. “I wanted to attend a school and be confident of the education I was receiving,” said Bitz.
She chose the adult health/gerontological clinical nurse specialist specialty. “I was drawn to the clinical nurse specialist role because I wanted to make a difference in patient outcomes and quality of care,” said Bitz. “I believe that the clinical nurse specialist role will allow me to perform patient care, impact patients’ lives and lead quality improvement.”
As a student, Bitz said she is impressed with the professors. “I feel that the professors really care about each student. They want to see you learn and be successful. They listen to you. You are not just a number or ‘another student,’” said Bitz.
Bitz is expected to graduate in July 2015, but she already sees the benefits of advancing her education. “Going through grad school has helped me in my job,” said Bitz. “I have been able to translate what I am learning into my job as an RN and take with me as I am in various committees at work.”