Sara Baker, DNP Student

Sara earned her BSN from Grand Valley State University in 2011. She is currently a surgical intensive care unit nurse. Read more to discover Sara’s thoughts about the DNP at UM-Flint.

Why did you select UM-Flint for your graduate studies?

The University of Michigan-Flint appealed to me for a variety of reasons including quick responses from advisors, faculty that was enthusiastic to help and the big, beautiful yellow ‘M’ logo that is known across the country. The online program was an added bonus as it allowed me balance school around my life instead of my life around school which is so important for myself and many students that have life demands that cannot be put on hold for furthering education. The layout of the program progressed forward in a fluid motion instead of staggered without one class building off of another. Since accepting a spot in their competitive program, I have never regretted it once.

What is something that has surprised you about UM-Flint?

The one thing that surprised me about UM-Flint was the vast amount of opportunities available to students even though it is not the Ann Arbor campus. The study abroad openings are all over the globe with excellent financial assistance. The job openings to work directly with staff, such as the Graduate Research Student Assistant, are an excellent way to obtain part-time supplemental income as well as experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The amount of scholarship money that is available to students is phenomenal. I struggled desperately to land scholarships during my undergraduate degree elsewhere. Here at UM-Flint, I have been awarded several already and I am not even half way through the program yet. I am excited to see what other surprises arise as I continue on my journey to my DNP.

What sets the program apart?

From transcultural care, to civic engagement, to epidemiology, to administrative work, to reaching out to the underserved, UM-Flint Doctor of Nursing Practice Program stands out because it encompasses the big picture of nursing and holistic health. We get the big university benefits with the small, close-knit campus feel.

Can you describe some of the ways UM-Flint has prepared you for greater success in the real world?

Graduating from UM-Flint prepares us for greater success than other universities because of the ability to immerse ourselves in not only our studies but also our communities where we will be one day be working. From civic engagement assignments, to capstone projects, to volunteer opportunities and service learning trips, UM-Flint and their committed faculty give you that competitive edge compared you would have a difficult time finding elsewhere.

Who is the person who has made the biggest impact on your UM-Flint career?

Dr. Wehbe-Alamah challenged me in ways I did not even realize I needed to be challenged in. During my transcultural nursing class with her, she facilitated our journey to opening our eyes to our own prejudices and stereotypes we harbor that we may or may not have been aware of. Her assignments made you not only apply the material, but further conceptualize until it affected your everyday way of thinking. She was very open-minded and encouraged us to be frank with our emotions and feelings on very sensitive areas. The life lessons I have taken from that class have and will continue to affect my view on the world around me for the rest of my life.

Can you give an example of an assignment or a project that emphasized applying class concepts to a real problem/situation?

The professors at UM-Flint have given us case studies that take your learning to a whole new level. The case studies force you to dissect patient scenarios at a way more in-depth level to not only learn the material but to apply to situations that are similar to real life. This is so beneficial because we are not only going to see easy patients with one comorbidities; we need to be prepared for the patients that are just as complex as our case studies.

Did you take any online or mixed mode courses during your graduate studies at UM-Flint?

With the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at UM-Flint, the convenience of it being mainly an all online program is so beneficial for adults that want to go back to school but life won’t allow them to attend in-person classes. We have families, jobs, responsibilities that can be cut back but not completely out. I will be honest, the online format was intimidating at first, but the professors make efforts to make sure you still feel connected and engaged.

What is something you think UM-Flint’s DNP program should brag about more?

I think UM-Flint’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program should brag about their willing to help students above and beyond the classroom. They apply and seek out scholarships and grants specifically for their students. They send out opportunities to get involved with staff and the community. They encourage and support service learning and study abroad opportunities. They are willing to adjust their agenda to meet the needs of the students. They provide financial assistance and guidance to the student organization to help make their events and community involvement a greater success. While classroom material is crucial, the experience around the classroom is just as important in making us well-rounded and sought-after nurse practitioners.