Interviewer: Tell us about your professional and educational background before starting Baylor’s DNP-ENL program.
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: Before starting the DNP-ENL program, I held a master’s degree in healthcare administration and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I was a member of the hospital executive team with oversight of clinical and ancillary departments.
Interviewer: What first attracted you to the nursing profession?
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: At age 10, I was involved in a tragic event. Our house caught on fire, and I suffered severe smoke inhalation and burns. I was confined in the intensive care unit on life support. Thankfully, I survived. Through receiving compassionate care from nurses, my interest in the nursing field was elicited.
Interviewer: What led to your decision to become an Executive Nurse Leader?
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: Leadership has always been an area of interest for me—really a passion. Throughout my early academic and college years, I took on leadership roles which I could continue in the early stages of my professional journey.
Becoming an executive nurse leader is a gargantuan task: the ability to lead, inspire, influence and make a significant impact. I marvel at dealing with challenges and making improvements, especially ensuring patients receive safe optimal high-quality care.
Interviewer: Why did you decide now was the right time to pursue a DNP-ENL degree?
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: I was approaching my 20th year in the profession, and I thought, “how exemplary would it be to receive a terminal degree in nursing?!” So, I decided it was the best time to pursue a DNP-ENL degree.
Interviewer: Why do you think leadership is an important skill for nurses?
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: Applying effective leadership skills and strategies is paramount for all nurses. The healthcare environment is very dynamic, so nurses need to change the landscape through policy and advocacy- and this requires leadership acumen.
Possessing leadership skills ensures a focus on the profession by creating a practice environment that enhances good outcomes and experiences for all stakeholders.
Interviewer: What impact do you hope to have on the nursing profession upon graduation?
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: The eight essential tenets of the DNP are a guiding framework for us doctoral graduates. It allows us to materialize what we have learned theory into practice, particularly in implementing evidence-based practices, enhancing quality, and efficiency, advocating for policies and transforming care delivery and improving the health and wellness of the vulnerable population in the community.
Interviewer: Tell us about your experience working on your final project.
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: The final project is meaningful, as it allows the DNP student to identify an area of focus, conduct a gap analysis, design something transformational and apply the Adams Influence Model to materialize the project.
I was able to do a project that was germane to my work setting, which was embraced by our executive team and leaders for implementation. The final project is done systematically with strong guidance from the faculty advisor and organizational mentor.
Interviewer: What advice do you have for potential students considering enrolling in Baylor’s Distance ENL program?
Ardel Guillamas Avelino: Without reservation, I highly endorse Baylor’s distance ENL program and confidently make this statement based on my first-hand perspective and noteworthy experience. If you want to excel as a nurse leader/executive, this program is suited for you. But be prepared to put in work; trust me, you will learn profoundly.
This program will transform you into a bold, decisive and exceptional leader [with] the aptitude to impact your organization, community and the nursing profession.