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Demand for Master’s prepared nurses has been on the rise due to the increase in the level of healthy living, wellness and the evolving nature of the healthcare system. Master’s prepared nurses obtain knowledge, skills and key competencies that allow them to achieve the ultimate goal of helping patients achieve an optimal health outcome with a view of achieving an overall improvement in the quality of care. As an experienced Bachelors prepared nurse seeking to become a Masters prepared nurse soon, I find that the actual roles and responsibilities of a Masters prepared nurse in the clinical environment have narrow view. From the perspective of clinical duties, a Masters prepared nurse is seen as a nurse administrator, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, and a nurse educator. In this interview, I interviewed YX, who is a director of nursing in my school. I chose to interview YX because I have learned a lot from him and his passion for nursing and he has also provided me with many opportunities for growth. This planned interview seeks to provide more insights into the roles and responsibilities of a Masters prepared nurse.
Overview of Career
YX began his career as a human resource manager in New York City after he graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Management. Two years later, his mother was hospitalized for a month and he had to take some days off from his work to spend time with her and his siblings. During that period, he observed nurses spend over twelve hours with them and still make a commitment to provide care when called upon even during their resting hours. He was inspired by the dedication of nurses working long hours, amidst burnout to help other people feel better. That touched him tremendously, making a lasting impact even in his career. By the time they left the hospital, he had a new passion, to pursue a career in healthcare.
We can do it today.
Immediately after graduating in 1999, he landed a job in an acute care setting in family care in the University of Washington Medical Center, Washington D.C. The interviewee revealed that most of the clinical experience was gained through assisting the physicians, interacting with the patients, performing injections and taking patients’ vital signs. In 2001, he was licensed as a registered nurse and started working at Unique Residential Care Center in Washington where his role involved coordination between nurses specialized in various departments to enhance the medical and physical needs of the patients. Working at the home reinforced his desire to work in the community and family setting by helping the patients and their families regain their optimal health status. He worked at the home between 2001 and 2005 when he graduated with a Master’s Degree. His graduation was an opening for many opportunities that he got a job in Howard University Hospital as a clinical nurse II, a position he held for nine years. In 2014, he moved to a prestigious training institution where he specializes mainly in nursing practice, instructing and leadership.
His career in healthcare began when he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Washington State University in 1999. His first degree in healthcare was the second major motivation for him to grow the passion he had developed about making a difference in the lives of the people who needed medical care. He recalls that the nursing curriculum was mainly grounded on leadership development, evidence-based practice and critical thinking. He revealed that his degree opened him to many opportunities that qualify him to multiple titles including director of nursing, assistant director of nursing or a professor/assistant professor. Motivated to pursue both his passion in leadership in his prior career and his new found passion in healthcare, YX decided to pursue a Master of Science in the same university. He had a seamless transition to a Master’s prepared nurse as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and graduated in 2005.
The primary purpose of the Master’s program in nursing is to prepare nurses to effectively provide specialty and primary care to acute and chronic medical conditions at the family and community context (ANA, 2010). The program also provided YX with the skills to appropriately function in various setting taking leadership roles. The interviewee revealed that the Master’s program was more rewarding, yet challenging compared to the undergraduate program. Currently, his day is filled with a wide range of activities from patient observation to assessment, diagnosis, critical thinking documentation, and leadership. This is mainly due to the changes in dynamics of healthcare delivery (Finkelman, 201, p. 31). Hence, the program allowed him to fulfill the passion in his current position, the director of nursing.
Currently, YX is a director of nursing in a school of nursing. Besides his nursing practice, he is also an instructor in the top leadership cadre in the school. The interviewer also shared that he mainly teaches evidence-based practice and critical thinking due to his passion and experience in different institutions. He notes that the skill of critical thinking and leadership is vital in teaching nursing schools to not only act professionally, but also responsibly.
Pearls of Wisdom
YX has been very influential in advising students and fellow practicing nurses to develop the interest of professionalism, discipline and perseverance. He advices individuals starting a graduate program to ensure that their purpose and passion in life comes to pass by pursing it tirelessly and avoiding distractions (Adelman-Mullally, et al., 2013, p. 29, 32). He also recommends that nursing students should prioritize studying, research and thirst for knowledge advancement.
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In this interview, I decided to interview an interviewee, YX who I have closely interacted with and observed his passion for caring for patients, their families and the nursing students. For a person who shifted from the corporate world to healthcare, YX has been able to sharpen his skills and modify his attitude to a more human-minded perspective. I have learned that his education has played a major role in helping him develop knowledge and skills as a nursing educator, leader, and curriculum expert. The interview taught me that the virtues of discipline, hard work, and determination are key to individual and professional success.
- Adelman-Mullally, T, Mulder, C.K., McCarter-Spalding, D.E., Hagler, D.A., Gaberson, K.B., Hanner, M.B., … &Young, P.K. (2013). The Clinical Nurse Educator as Leader. Nurse Education Practice, 13(1):29-34.
- American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. (2nd ed) 18. Washington, D.C.
- Finkelman, A. (2013). The Clinical Nurse Specialist: Leadership in Quality Improvement. Clinical Nurse Specialist. 27 (1), 31-32.