Two Frontier Nursing University graduates have implemented impactful doctoral projects into their Kentucky communities.
Nurses Nina Booth and Carrie Dunaway began their education at FNU through the ADN Bridge Entry Option and went straight through earning their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Nina and Carrie each implemented a DNP Project and Practicum as part of the program. The projects serve to provide FNU DNP students with a facilitated service learning opportunity.
Nina’s DNP project established a Palliative Care Program for rural, chronically-ill patients. Originally from the Lake Cumberland, Ky. area, Nina was a hospice nurse for eight years before deciding to enter the ADN-MSN bridge program. She had visited Frontier as an LPN student and was awestruck and inspired by the history and by Mary Breckinridge’s mission.
After completing her MSN in 2017 as a family nurse practitioner, she pioneered the Palliative Care Program in the Lake Cumberland district as part of her Companion DNP that she would complete in 2018.
Nina formed the idea for the project after noticing a need for improved access among patients with cancer and pain crisis. She provides them with symptom relief, support, education of advanced directives, goals of care planning, helps with equipment needs and supplies, and if necessary, helps them transition into hospice care.
“I want to bring access to palliative care to chronically ill residents in my community that are seeking aggressive care and having symptom burden, that would otherwise not find relief until giving up curative care and pursuing hospice,” she said.
Her project, the first of its kind in the area, allowed her to complete her Companion DNP. While in the ADN Bridge program, Nina made vital connections with the Frontier community. Her distance learning experience was enhanced by lifelong friends she made and the overall mission she was pursuing.
“I chose to get my DNP so that I could be a healthcare leader in my community,” she said. “I am proud every single day to carry out Mary’s mission of reaching families in rural communities.”
Carrie’s DNP project instituted a Quality Improvement initiative for adult cardiac patients. Carrie serves as a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner at Lexington Clinic in Lexington, Ky. Her personal experience of watching her father suffer a heart attack and seeing subpar subsequent cardiac care was what drove her to pursue a nurse practitioner degree after 25 years in the nursing profession.
The calling to advance her education in cardiology led her to the nurse practitioner role, where she could treat patients autonomously, to the completion of her MSN, and finally to the ADN Bridge Program to earn her DNP.
“Attaining the DNP not only has given me more respect as a nurse practitioner from my colleagues, it has also given me the ability to hopefully become a nursing faculty as well so that I can teach other nurses pursuing their nurse practitioner degree,” she said.
Carrie’s DNP project sought to reduce strokes in atrial fibrillation patients. Her results were successful: she recorded 36% stroke reduction in atrial fibrillation patients by increasing appropriate anticoagulation from 55% to 91% in 90 days. She was asked to present findings to the head of the section meeting at Lexington Clinic.
Following the project’s success, Carrie is now working on establishing an Atrial Fibrillation Clinic in her cardiology practice.
Carrie formed invaluable friendships in her time at Frontier, and received ample support from faculty and ancillary staff while receiving her DNP.
“Coming together with other students at the university was imperative to my success, which is something you do not get at other online institutions,” she said.
She stays connected to the Frontier network and mission through volunteer work as a Family Nurse Practitioner providing health care to underserved and uninsured patients.
“I am so thankful that I was able to attain my degree at an establishment so rich in tradition and history,” she said.
Congratulations, Nina and Carrie, on the success of your projects and the impact you’ve had on our home state of Kentucky!