10:07 AM

Member of UST’s First DNP Cohort Published in Nursing Economic$

Dell Roach, MSN, RN, CNML, was destined to be a nurse. She loved science and had a strong interest in health care. Her great aunt, who served as a nurse in the military, gifted Roach with her notebook, cape, cap and pen, which may have sealed the deal.

“It’s been an excellent career for me,” Roach, 58, said, though she’s far from done.

Already possessing her master’s in nursing and working as a nurse manager at Jennie Sealy Hospital on the UTMB campus in Galveston, Roach was looking for the skillset to be a transformational leader. She found it in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program at University of St. Thomas – Houston. Roach became a member of the program’s first cohort in 2018 and is on track to finish in 2021.

A Drive to Make a Difference on Broader Level

“My peers ask me why I’m doing this, and when I’m really juggling, I ask myself the same thing,” she smiled. “But it’s about the opportunity to make a difference. I want to find ways to guide staff and systems to positively impact patients on a broader level.”

Making a transformational difference even now, Roach was published in the November-December 2020 edition of Nursing Economic$ Journal for an article she co-wrote with colleague Dennis Santa Ana, MSN, RN, ANP, CCRN, BA-C. The article is titled “Natural Disaster: Prompting Conversion to Intermediate Specialty Care Towards Efficient ICU Bed Utilization.”

Roach said, “The article explains a transformation of the patient care environment to safely meet the needs of patients with something in-between an ICU and a regular ward. We wrote about how we created that environment and showed how it saved ICU resources and money. Many hospitals need this.”

According to the critical care nurse, the pilot project took place at John Sealy Hospital, and Jennie Sealy now has its own 16-bed unit, which is full almost all the time.

Thankful for What She is Learning in UST’s DNP Program

Roach is grateful for the knowledge she is gaining from UST’s DNP curriculum and has encouraged her staff to explore the program.

“The level of innovation, support, time and attention is something I would not have found anywhere else,” she said. “UST’s program is for the person who is looking for a degree that will truly make a difference when they step out into the world. It’s not a cookie-cutter curriculum where you just check all the boxes and get a degree. It’s for the person who wants to be challenged and part of a collaborative environment where you feel respected and are exposed to new perspectives.”

For more information on UST’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, go here.