Jessica Driscoll: Nurse Leader in the Classroom and Beyond

November 19, 2015

Jessica shares highlights as a Jonas Scholar and DNP candidate

Jessica Driscoll ‘09HS recently returned from the Jonas Scholar conference in Washington, DC where she represented Simmons College as part of the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program and had the chance to network with nurse educators, leaders and policy experts.

The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program was established in 2008 to support the education and development of nursing doctoral candidates. An alumna of Simmons MSN program, Jessica is a bone marrow transplant nurse practitioner and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Simmons.

A highlight of the conference for Jessica was meeting and learning from other Jonas Scholars across the country. “I met a Jonas Veterans Healthcare Scholar doing incredible work in rural Mississippi, and we are talking about collaborating on an Oncology research project once my capstone work is complete.”

The capstone is a key component of the DNP program. These evidence-based scholarly projects are completed by students under the guidance of a clinical practice mentor, and make significant contributions to nursing practice. As Jessica affirms, “once the DNP is done, it's actually just the beginning of a long career in nursing.”

We asked Jessica to elaborate on her experience in the DNP program and her capstone project.

What has been the most valuable part of the Simmons DNP program for you?

It has challenged my practice as a nurse practitioner. Given the high demands of my clinical work, I often forget that there are many incredible things happening in healthcare that I don't get to see everyday. The program has helped me see these and broaden my perspective. In addition, my DNP colleagues here at Simmons are incredible nurse leaders that inspire me with their experiences. Every DNP student at Simmons is a leader in their respective fields.

What will be the focus of your DNP capstone project? Why did you choose this topic?

My DNP capstone project is exploring how patients cope with moderate and severe chronic graft versus host disease. I chose this topic because it is something I struggle with everyday. My patients look to me for answers, and unfortunately, these patients' medical needs are complex and often take priority over their emotional needs. As I am finding with my interviews, patients are eager to talk about this. I am hoping that through this work, we will better understand how patients are coping and take it one step further to intervene and help them early on.