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With technological advances, economic fluctuation and increasing political involvement, nursing is a field that is regularly transforming. Tracey Smith, a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) candidate, is not only acclimating to these changes but striving to promote positive changes.
"When I look at how health care is changing, I see that there is a need for nursing leaders to be involved in this shift," said Tracey. "I think that a doctoral education helps to prepare us to have the skills as leaders in that changing health care system."
As a medical student educator at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Ill., Tracey teaches her students how to effectively interact with patients and the community. In this position she also serves as the liaison to the local Springfield community, running the homeless health care clinics and working with the Springfield school district to help decrease child obesity.
Tracey earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from SIUE, and chose to get her DNP through SIUE because she believed that the University offered both familiarity and quality career experiences.
"It's a small enough university that our professors get to know us, yet large enough to provide us with diversity and multiple exposures to different ways of practice," Tracey said.
When she completes her DNP, Tracey hopes to continue to be involved in medical education, become more involved in SIU School of Medicine administration, and find ways to reinvent and enhance nursing practices.
"I want to be more involved in developing new systems of care that are emerging from the Affordable Care Act," Tracey said. "I think the doctorate program has provided me with the knowledge and education to be able to do that."