Doctor of Nursing Practice
“I feel as though I am more innovative and willing to try more creative approaches to solve problems and improve systems.”
As a nurse, Teri Verner saw the benefits of less invasive, more natural approaches to improving the health of patients, but after more than 20 years of providing care in long term and home care settings, it became clear to her that the medical system was focused on disease management rather than health care. “I understood the mind-body connection and the amazing ability the body has to maintain health if given the right tools,” said Verner. “I was interested in learning more about incorporating these tools into the health care system to work toward achieving optimal health.”
Verner looked to the University of Minnesota School of Nursing for that education because it was the only doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program to have an integrative health and healing specialty area. She applied to the program because she felt that in order to change the health care system she needed to learn more about research and evidence-based practice, as well how to implement change in a way that was meaningful and sustainable.
The course work developed her skills in statistics, research, program development and evaluation, leadership and innovation, and policy. “The specialty course work taught me about self-awareness, engagement and the importance of mindfulness,” said Verner. “As a student, I was nurtured, challenged and stretched in ways I never have before in my academic career.”
A particularly meaningful learning experience occurred during a session in Hawaii where she studied Reiki, aromatherapy, acupressure and indigenous Hawaiian healing in the surroundings of the big island of Hawaii. “This was an opportunity for much of our cohort to bond in a way that would not have been possible with traditional learning in the classroom or online,” said Verner.
After graduating in 2012, she accepted the position of program manager at Hennepin County Medical Center’s Alternative Medicine Clinic. In addition to managing the clinic, she is responsible for the strategic direction of the alternative medicine program within the Hennepin Health System. “I am excited to be involved in the transformation of the delivery of care and be a witness to the impacts this change is having on patients’ health and well-being,” said Verner.
She credited her education at the School of Nursing for giving her the skills needed to see everything within its system and recognize connections. “The DNP program in integrative health and healing created a space for significant personal growth and self-awareness and has opened my mind to a different way of thinking,” said Verner. “I feel as though I am more innovative and willing to try more creative approaches to solve problems and improve systems.”