Nursing MSN & DNP

| 14 December 2021

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

DNP Student “Hits Gold” with Practicum Mentor

“She has emotional intelligence, vision, influence, and knowledge of how to make others follow,” says Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student Laura Massey, BSN, RN, MHA. She’s describing the preceptor and mentor for her three trimesters of practica, Dorothy “Dort” Foglia, BSN, MS, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at Texas Health Frisco. “I hit gold by getting her,” Massey says. “She involves me in so much.”

The feeling is mutual. “It’s been more of a collaboration and collegial relationship than a one-way mentorship,” Dr. Foglia says. “We both work at the CNO level. We’re growing and learning together. I’ve precepted many students over the years, and Laura has proven to be one of the best.”

Entering the DNP Program

Laura Massey, RN, MHA, BSN-DNP student at USAHS

Massey is no stranger to leadership. After 17 years in nursing supervisory positions, she was promoted to CNO within her hospital, Texas Health Plano, a month before COVID-19 hit. Around the same time, she also began the DNP program, as a BSN-entry student in the Nurse Executive role specialty. “It was challenging,” she laughs. “I got to see what I’m really made of.”

“It had always been my goal to get my DNP,” Massey continues. “It’s the expectation for CNOs, at least here in Dallas/Fort Worth. But it’s not just about building your resume. It’s about how the degree benefits you—what else can I learn to advance my leadership.”

Then the time came to find a clinical preceptor. “I looked around to find the best person who could offer me the chance to grow in the ways I wanted to,” she says. Several of her colleagues spoke highly of Dr. Foglia, with whom Massey was already acquainted through years of working in the same pediatric/neonatal circles in Dallas. When Massey reached out, Dr. Foglia enthusiastically responded.

“I admire Laura,” Dr. Foglia says. “She’s so energetic and positive. She has what I call ‘executive presence.’ If I had a definition of that term, Laura’s name would be in it. And the DNP will only give her more tools. She’s a rising star in the Texas Health system. While Laura is a humble leader, we’re working on increasing her confidence and courage to brag more about all her amazing accomplishments.”

In her role as CNO at Texas Health Frisco, Dr. Foglia has clinical and administrative oversight of all patient care services. She has served as a nurse for over 40 years, including 25 years in leadership roles. She has also taught at the university level.

Beginning a Fruitful Collaboration

Dorothy Foglia, BSN, MS, PhD, preceptor and mentor

The two talk nearly every day and meet to debrief once a week. “I tell Dort my goals, and she helps me refine and focus them,” Massey says.

While Texas Health Plano was being re-designated as a magnet hospital, Dr. Foglia guided Massey through the transition. She and her team have also supported Massey with aspects of strategic planning, service line development, leadership development, workforce planning, and patient experience. “I’ve shared my ideas on how Laura can develop her leadership team while planning for the future,” Dr. Foglia says. “Since our hospital has outstanding patient satisfaction, I’ve shared our program elements to help Laura and her team achieve similar outcomes. And Laura has been an enormous help to my leaders. She’s an expert on patient access and throughput, so she’s helping us build processes around that.”

Says Massey, “Dort gives constructive feedback and gets me to see things differently. She has demonstrated what interprofessional collaboration is all about.”

Learning How to Best Influence Others

Massey attends many of Dr. Foglia’s meetings with administration and staff. One day, Dr. Foglia gave a presentation about a new program rollout to a group of Texas Health Frisco nurse leaders and got pushback from a few colleagues. “Dort never missed a beat,” Massey says. “She let them speak and didn’t show irritation. And she responded to their objections in a convincing and respectful way.”

Dr. Foglia says she was prepared to handle her colleagues’ objections. “I like disruptors because they bring up really good questions. But you can’t let them derail the conversation. And it sparked a great discussion between Laura and me afterward.”

Massey was impressed.

“Dort has taught me that as a nurse leader, you need to learn how to articulate what you need in a confident manner that influences others.”

Choosing USAHS

About USAHS’ DNP program, Massey says, “I have nothing but positive things to say. The instructors are engaging and have been responsive to me, giving me meaningful feedback on assignments and challenging me to go a step further. And I’ve built professional relationships with other students that will continue going forward.”

Dr. Foglia agrees. “I am overwhelmingly impressed by the program—and I’ve seen a lot of programs. The curriculum is intense, but it must be. As in all doctoral programs, it’s important to stay focused and ahead of assignments. Laura and I have discussed the challenges of working full-time and going to school—while staying at the top of your game in both areas.”

Their mentorship is planned to span two years total.

Massey offers advice to other graduate nursing students. “It’s super important that students find a preceptor who is very experienced in what their future role is. I took accountability for finding a strong leader. And Dort has given me so much.”

“My students’ success is my own,” Dr. Foglia says. “I predict continued success for Laura in the future, including advancing to a chief nurse executive role.”

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with BSN- and MSN-entry options. The BSN-entry track features two role specialties: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Nurse Executive. The FNP specialty features one required on-campus clinical intensive, whereas both specialties feature optional on-campus immersions. Become a nurse leader and manage interprofessional teams with your DNP degree.


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