We are joined by alumna Karrie Boss, MSN ‘18, RN, APRN, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Stroke Program Coordinator at Wooster Community Hospital in Wooster, Ohio. She firmly believes that the nursing profession chose her at the age of five-years-old, and she has never looked back. “I have always felt lucky that I knew my professional calling from such an early age.” Karrie graduated from the Kent State University College of Nursing Clinical Nurse Specialist master’s concentration in 2018. Today she joins us as we talk about the importance of advancing your nursing education.
Q: Welcome Karrie. We are glad you could join us for a few moments this afternoon. To start us off, would you tell us why obtaining your master’s as Clinical Nurse Specialist was important to you.
A: Thank you for inviting me to be part of this conversation! My top reasons for wanting to advance my education included the ability to grow my knowledge in the field of nursing, advance in my profession and achieve financial stability. Nursing is a profession that requires lifelong learning and growth. The science behind our care is constantly evolving. As nurses and front line providers, we must stay atop of the changes in order to provide the best care for our patients. My knowledge and expertise in the critical care population reinforced the need for growth and advancement in my career. My current work as an advanced practice registered nurse provides opportunities for me to improve nursing care, while working alongside front line care providers as well as grow me as a leader and clinician in the hospital setting.
Q: What made Kent State’s master’s program more desirable than other schools?
A: I loved that Kent State University College of Nursing offered both full-time and part-time curriculum plans. Many courses were offered online as well, which gave me the flexibility to complete my course work around my schedule. This was extremely important for me as a working mom.
Q: Why did you ultimately choose to complete your master’s program at Kent State?
A: I have been a part-time faculty member for the College of Nursing since 2012, teaching clinicals, lab and courses for the undergraduate program. The Kent State University graduate nursing program was the natural selection for me in pursuing an advanced degree.
Q: What did you most enjoy about the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) program?
A: The Kent State College of Nursing CNS master’s program was an obvious choice for me as it incorporated education, leadership, consultation and clinical expertise. As a busy, working mother of three, I found the online program convenient and supportive. The professors were very attentive to the students, supporting our development as both professional nurses and nursing students. Having been out of school for 15 years, transitioning back to a collegiate mindset had its challenges and I was grateful my professors provided encouragement, resources and tips on how to be successful.
Q: How did you manage both working and being a Kent State graduate student?
A: Advancing in my profession has been a lifelong goal, however as a mother of three children under the age of 8, returning to school seemed daunting, but I realized the pursuit of a graduate degree would benefit our family in numerous ways. It was important that our children observed the hard work, sacrifice and commitment required to achieve a goal. Without the support and love of my husband, I would not have been able to complete the program, work two jobs, take care of our household and raise our children. He was my cheerleader and rock throughout the whole process. I quickly learned to organize my day, all the while finding time for my husband, children and studies.
Q: As a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and Stroke Program Coordinator and what does your role involve?
A: My role involves program management, clinical education, research and implementation of evidence-based care. My primary function is to improve outcomes in patient care, specifically in the acute, critical care and stroke population.
Q: How have you applied the lessons you’ve learned in the CNS program to your nursing career?
A: The CNS program taught me how to evaluate current practice while utilizing evidence. This has been invaluable to me in the management of a primary stroke center. The advanced education in leadership has also helped me guide staff in improving the quality of nursing care we provide to our patients.
Q: What advice do you have for other nurses considering getting their master’s as a Clinical Nurse Specialist?
A: Take time to consider your immediate and long-term goals and evaluate your knowledge prior to obtaining your graduate degree. I believe my years of clinical experience and critical thinking helped me with the classroom content and provided a good knowledge base, which led to my success.
Q: What would you like to say to people considering coming back to school at Kent State University College of Nursing?
A: Go for it! Kent State University College of Nursing has an excellent graduate program which offers various program concentrations. I was very pleased with the CNS program and staff who made my success a priority!
Q: Karrie, we appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your Kent State graduate student experience? A: It has been a pleasure to be here and share my experiences with you. In addition to everything we’ve already touched on, my graduate experience at Kent State College of Nursing connected me with other CNS professionals. This networking has been extremely valuable as a novice CNS. Finally, I would like to share that I am looking forward to starting my terminal degree this fall at Kent State University College of Nursing in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program!