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As I was starting my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, I was unsure of what to expect besides gaining clinical knowledge to provide care as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). However, even at this early stage, my perspective on the role of an APRN has drastically changed. The courses I have taken taught me the importance of mastering the eight DNP essentials, developing leadership and collaborative skills, and facilitating evidence-based practice. I have learned the significance of active participation in health policy, which can help improve health outcomes, promote the growth of the nursing profession, and ensure that patient needs are met. Furthermore, I had a wake-up call about the importance of considering social determinants of health when treating patients and taking a broader view of holistic care.
Pursuing an advanced degree can feel overwhelming at times. However, it is highly motivating to know that this program provides us with the opportunity to improve our clinical competence, develop essential leadership skills, learn how to utilize evidence-based practices, engage in policymaking, enhance our critical thinking and writing abilities, and develop skills in collaboration, communication, and mentorship. As the future of the healthcare and nursing profession, we are responsible for transforming health policy, advocating for patients and ourselves, and contributing to nursing faculty and nursing shortages. I am excited to acquire the knowledge necessary to excel as an APRN and achieve my post-graduation goals.