Trauma Nurse Advances Career with Online DNP Program

Jane Ginther, Ohio State Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student, 2020

When Jane Ginther was considering a graduate program that would allow her to pursue her dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner, she was initially skeptical of the online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. In her previous studies, most classes were held on campus and in person, so she knew online learning would be an adjustment. Yet Ginther soon found online learning not only better fit her schedule but also offered some unique advantages to making meaningful changes in patient care.

“I learned to embrace and really appreciate the online format,” she said. “It enabled me to continue to work full time, take advantage of generous employer tuition benefits, and progress toward my career goals, while also accommodating my family life.”

The College of Nursing’s DNP program is a fully online program with no on-campus requirements. Classes in the program rely on synchronous learning, which means students attend class at a certain time each week through CarmenZoom, using their webcams. With everyone in class at the same time, students are able to collaborate and provide feedback on each other’s projects in real time.

Ginther said the program’s emphasis on networking and collaboration sparked compelling conversations with classmates, both those living in Ohio and in other states.

“The DNP program attracts students throughout the country, many of who are fairly advanced in their careers,” Ginther said. “It presents this extraordinary opportunity to learn what other health systems are doing, which often times leads to collaboration and meaningful change.”

Completing the DNP program while still working full time allowed Ginther to bring concepts she learned in class back to her daily nursing practice on the orthopaedic trauma team and vice versa: “I feel as though I am maximizing my academic and professional growth by working simultaneously,” she said.

But the best part of the program has been the powerful and enduring connections Ginther has made with her peers and professors.

“The availability and support of both the faculty and my peers has probably been the driving force for me,” she said. “It's been a very supportive learning environment. We all want to succeed and do our best to support each other.”

For Ginther and many of her peers, online best fit her schedule, allowing her to attain a graduate degree and progress toward her professional goals. Her advice to other nurses interested in graduate school? Don’t be wary of an online program. “If you are interested in pursuing additional education but have other responsibilities like caring for a family and working full time, online learning makes it possible.”