Lucinda Bush shares her experience as an Online DNP-FNP student in this short video.
Recorded during FNP Immersion on campus at Baylor University in June 2019.
Read the full student testimonial transcript below.
Interviewer: What is your favorite part about being a nurse?
Lucinda Bush: My favorite part about being a nurse is that it offers a career that combines an academic drive along with helping people. I get to help people every day, but I get to pursue my academic goals as well and learn a lot every single day. It also is a field that allows me to grow in my profession, like allowing me to go back to school and advance my degree.
Interviewer: How has working with the dedicated support advisor impacted your educational experience?
Lucinda Bush: That's been really great. I have a placement coordinator that's always checking in with me, I have a student success advisor that's always checking in with me, and then I have at least weekly updates for my faculty where they're checking in on us. So we have a lot of people that are devoted to our success and making sure that we're managing our time well and really checking in and making themselves available as a resource if we...read the full transcript below.
Full Video Transcript
00:00 Lucinda Bush: My name is Lucinda Bush, I am a family nurse practitioner in the Family Nurse Practitioning Program, and I am gonna graduate in December of 2020.
00:11 Interviewer: What is your favorite part about being a nurse?
00:14 Lucinda Bush: My favorite part about being a nurse is that it offers a career that combines an academic drive along with helping people. I get to help people every day, but I get to pursue my academic goals as well and learn a lot every single day. It also is a field that allows me to grow in my profession, like allowing me to go back to school and advance my degree.
00:36 Interviewer: When and why did you decide to become a family nurse practitioner?
00:40 Lucinda Bush: I decided I wanted to do nurse practitioning at least even when I was in nursing school. I loved being a nurse, I loved the opportunities that it gave me, but I knew I wanted to take more charge in the care of my patients, be able to have a bigger impact on them, and I wanted to be able to do that without necessarily having to wait and go through the process of going through medical school. I also really liked the idea of having a career in medicine that prepared me at the bedside as a nurse, and I feel like I got to learn a lot of hands-on information there that lent itself to me being a good future provider someday as a nurse practitioning student.
01:19 Interviewer: Tell us what first attracted you to Baylor University.
01:22 Lucinda Bush: I actually started my nursing career at Baylor University Medical Center, and so I walked by Baylor Nursing School every single day on my way into work, and when I got to the point in my life where I wanted to go back to school, I thought, "What better than having such a big name, reputable program, that's right in my backyard?" Baylor does a great job of reaching students that are out of state, but for me, it's such an advantage that I can actually come up here and visit with my professors, I can use the library and other resources. And again, just that it's a big name that a lot of different hospitals and areas recognize when I do graduate, I'm really gonna be happy to have that name and credential behind my name.
02:02 Interviewer: How did you know Baylor's Nursing Program was the right fit for you?
02:08 Lucinda Bush: I immediately knew after I started working with some of the coordinators here in the recruiters for the program. I had applied to a few different programs and just kind of the warmth and inviting nature of Baylor really set itself apart from any other program. I felt like they were immediately behind wanting me to be successful and wanting me to be a part of their program and be successful in it, whereas other programs, I felt a little more like I was shut out until I actually got in, so to speak. It was a very welcoming environment here, even through the recruitment process.
02:46 Interviewer: How do you balance a full-time work schedule with the online courses and personal obligations?
02:52 Lucinda Bush: It is not always the easiest, but we have faculty here that's really helpful, that makes themselves available to us by email or phone, and truly try to shape their curriculum in how we need it. I actually, last semester, we had two classes that both had a final paper and a final test that were really big, and I knew from talking to some of my peers that everybody was really stressed out, and I emailed one of our teachers and just said, "Hey, I've talked to a few people. I know that everybody's worried about how they're gonna get both of these done, and done to the extent that they want them to be proud of the work they're putting forth." And that faculty member responded to me and very simply said, "If you guys are struggling with it, let's just kick out the due date a week later. Does that make it easier for you?" And so having faculty that have also been through school, have also been full-time nurses, also have a personal life that they care to, makes them very relatable to us. It's also very helpful to have an understanding support system around your family or your community that understands that your timing is a little bit pulled in a lot of different directions now, so that's been helpful, too.
04:03 Interviewer: How has working with the dedicated support advisor impacted your educational experience?
04:08 Lucinda Bush: That's been really great. I was actually just telling my mom the other day that I kind of can't get rid of Baylor calling me on the phone or checking in with me. I have a placement coordinator that's always checking in with me, I have a student success advisor that's always checking in with me, and then I have at least weekly updates for my faculty where they're checking in on us. So we have a lot of people that are devoted to our success and making sure that we're managing our time well and really checking in and making themselves available as a resource if we're struggling in any aspect.
04:38 Interviewer: What's been your experience with clinical placement?
04:41 Lucinda Bush: My clinical placement experience has been great! It's been such a relief that we now have a placement coordinating team. Again, they check in with us regularly, work really hard to make sure we have a placement that is close to us in proximity and also fit the needs for our specific program, that we're getting the best experience possible. And it is such a weight off my shoulders to know it doesn't solely fall on me while I'm in school and working and trying to balance a social life to also solely be responsible for finding my own clinical placement.
05:14 Interviewer: What advice do you have for potential students considering enrolling in the program?
05:19 Lucinda Bush: My advice would be to definitely try to mitigate some of the challenges you foresee having upfront. For me, I went from a very, very high-intensity, high-stress job, and before I even applied to DNP School, I took a job that was a little less stress, less impact. My leadership team at that job was very aware of the fact that I was motivated to go back to school, so when I did do that and I transitioned into working a few less hours, it wasn't some big surprise. They were already on my side, and they were very supportive of it. I also think it's important to communicate with your family and your community, your friends, your roommates, that you're kind of entering a new phase of life, you're gonna be back in school, it's very self-guided, it's very demanding, and your time that you once had for them might be a little bit fragmented now. And I think that if you start to get those things communicated and in place before you're even beginning the program, it makes the transition a lot smoother.
06:24 Interviewer: What are your expectations from your educational experience at Baylor?
06:36 Lucinda Bush: My expectations from my educational experience at Baylor are that I will graduate here, kind of in two parts: One, ready to take and conquer my boards, my boards exams, so that I can actually be a certified nurse practitioner; two, that I have some great professional colleagues and contacts that I can call upon and lean upon and ask advice from, whether it's a month out of school, a year, maybe 10 years out of school; and then three, just that I have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to be a productive provider in our healthcare system and that I am equipped to continue my education beyond graduating to be the best provider that I can be.
07:24 Interviewer: Are you satisfied with the amount of individual faculty attention that you've received thus far? If so, tell us more about your experience.
07:33 Lucinda Bush: Yes, definitely. I feel that our faculty have made themselves very available to us and have tried to do so on platforms that are geared towards even my age group, whether that's over text message or they do video conferencing or video messages to us, email. I know that they keep crazy schedules, too, and they don't hold it against me if they get an email from me at 1:00 AM. Sometimes I'll even get a response by 1:30 AM from them which is helpful. And again, we have a lot of different inter-working parts of the program that are checking in with us. It's not just faculty; it's also a student success advisor, it's also a placement coordinator, so we have a lot of moving parts that are working to make sure our experience in its entirety is running as smoothly as possible.
08:20 Interviewer: Did you find the faculty to be accessible, responsive, and supportive?
08:26 Lucinda Bush: Yes, I found them to be all of those things.
08:31 Interviewer: Tell us more about your experience with the nursing faculty at Baylor. Which faculty member stands out to you the most, and why?
08:39 Lucinda Bush: Okay, that's kind of... I might have two, 'cause I've kind of worked with them in different ways. One is Dr. Lori Spies. She teaches a Global Health course here, which I really enjoyed, and then she actually reached out to me to do some graduate research assistant work for her. And that was exciting for me because it's something I was definitely interested in but I didn't know if I was qualified for, and so the fact that she took the initiative to reach out to me and she believed in me and said, "I really think that you can do this," ended up being a wonderful experience. It certainly enhanced my ability to comprehend and aggregate and condense research work that will be paramount to my becoming a nurse practitioner. So she was so supportive and really, really accommodating to my schedule as a student to make sure that I was able to accomplish the work for her after I accomplished all of my work for school, so that was great.
09:35 Lucinda Bush: Another one that sticks out for me is Dr. Erin Killingsworth. She does a phenomenal job of taking concepts that are very scary, very abstract, and quite frankly potentially kind of boring, and makes them really interesting and accessible to the student. And I had a class with her called Scientific Inquiry, and truly, as a result of that class, it has served me so well in my subsequent classes for all of the papers that I write and research that I have to do. She really taught us how to find the correct research and analyze whether or not it actually is legitimate research, if it's applicable to what we're writing about, and kind of decipher the extracurricular noise that you can find out there in research versus really the bones of what matters. And that has served me so well as a student and a writer since then.
10:29 Interviewer: What are your future career plans, and how do you plan to achieve them?
10:33 Lucinda Bush: My future career plan, so I will be a family-prepared nurse practitioner, and I picked that intentionally because it opens a lot of doors to see, treat, prescribe for men, women, and children. And I did that because I don't know exactly where I will end up. Currently, I'm interested in cardiology. I don't know if it'll stay that way, but I would like to see myself in some kind of primary care setting that's maybe attached to a larger hospital where I can do some clinic work with patients as well as be in the hospital, seeing patients in a more acute setting as well, and kinda combine the two.
11:09 Interviewer: How have you been able to integrate learnings from the program into your current job, and what are some of the examples?
11:16 Lucinda Bush: I have taken a lot of the things we've learned so far, especially from a pathophysiologic standpoint, and the hospital that I currently work in as a registered nurse is also a teaching hospital, and so that's been great because I work with a lot of residents on a day-to-day basis who are also learning a lot, and it's easier to bump ideas and concepts off of other people that are also in a learning time in their life. So that's been helpful for me, that I can come to them and say, "Hey, are you learning this? Can you tell me a little bit more about it? ," which has been very cool.
11:48 Interviewer: Thank you.
11:49 Lucinda Bush: Thank you.