Susan Gordon is passionate about finding ways across the health care system to care for the influx of older adults in America. And that's a good thing because 20 percent of the population will be more than 65 years old within the next 20 years.
With a dual nurse practitioner certification in adult acute care and gerontology, Gordon decided to enroll in UMass Lowell's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to learn leadership skills that will help her improve care, especially for older adults.
"The sky is blue for NPs," she says. "We can provide quality care at a lower cost. We need to become entrepreneurs."
As one of the first five who will graduate from the UMass Lowell's DNP program in May 2012, Gordon's education has already opened doors.
"I have a broader view of the issues that health care faces because I'm in class with financial and business people as well as with other nurses," says Gordon, who is the nursing director of the Neuroscience Unit at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. She has introduced a national program at two hospitals that educates nurses on using evidence-based care for older adults.
Armed with this new broader perspective, though, Gordon hasn't forgotten that the individual needs of patients come first.
"We need to fix the system, but treat individuals," she says. "So much of nursing is hands off. I want to bring back the art of nursing – listening, touching and critical thinking."
Pursuing Your Passion
In the UMass Lowell DNP program, nurse practitioners can design project work based on individual interests. For example, for her scholarly project, Gordon is studying delirium – an acute change in mental status that occurs most frequently in older adults. Her goal is to teach other clinicians how to recognize the condition and treat it.
"I see the UMass Lowell's DNP program as an opportunity to pursue your passion," she says. "It's not a cookie cutter program. Within most classes, I do research or projects on subjects that interest me that I can apply to my job today."
Designed for people who work, the program includes a combination of face-to-face and online classes that give students the best of both worlds – convenience and personal interaction.
"I love the blended classes," says Gordon. "From home, I can see and talk to other classmates and the professor. It's a very doable program."
"The UMass Lowell DNP program has raised the bar. I am nothing but satisfied.
Return to DNP program page.