Having earned an MS in Nursing degree and established her practice as a family nurse practitioner, Mecca Daigre, of Baton Rouge, thought she was done with her formal education. Then she ran into a former professor who encouraged Mecca to pursue a doctorate.
Once the seed was planted, Daigre couldn't shake the idea.
“I started looking into it and I was like, if I want to do high-level academics or administration, I think this could be a real benefit," she says.
Daigre began researching Doctor of Nursing Practice programs in Louisiana that would afford her the flexibility to maintain her full-time role in a cardiovascular surgical center and be close enough that if she ever wanted or needed to visit campus, she could.
Ultimately, Daigre landed on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of Nursing and Health Science DNP program online.
“I felt the program seemed very organized, and I'm a very organized type of person,” Daigre says. “I like things to be in order, and so that really attracted me to the program.”
Adjusting to online
Daigre earned her MS in Nursing in 2010, before online graduate nursing opportunities were widely available, so learning online was an entirely new experience.
“This was essentially brand new for me, but the professors did a good job of really guiding and providing guidance,” says Daigre. “So I was able to navigate it throughout the program.”
The key to success in online learning is time management and planning. Daigre says she learned to strategize early to stay ahead of coursework while balancing her full-time job and her kids’ extracurriculars.
“I leaned on checking the syllabus early and planning for the semester, or at least looking ahead a few weeks so I could work accordingly,” Daigre says. "If I finished something, then I could move on to start gathering the research I needed for the next assignment or just trying to get a template of whatever paper I was writing next.”
Faculty also remained available throughout the program, says Daigre.
"I felt the program was so well organized, which I really liked, and I feel like the professors were very supportive. It was a great experience."
Advancing to a new level of practice
Daigre says pursuing her DNP provided new depth in her nursing practice, with an emphasis on research and evidence-based practices.
“It was so different from bedside nursing and even clinical nursing as a nurse practitioner,” says Daigre. “The coursework opened up a different part of the brain by really delving into information and concepts on different levels. I really learned a lot.”
Daigre applied her new perspective in her synthesis project: Integration and Evaluation of a Standardized Decision-Support Algorithm for the Use of Negative Pressure Therapy on Closed Sternotomy Incisions.
She is now working toward having the findings of the project published as well as coordinating with the nursing research council within the surgical care center where she works to continue exploring practices around the therapy.
What’s next for Mecca Daigre, DNP?
While Daigre may finally be finished as a student, she’s exploring the possibility of returning to the classroom as an educator.
Practice at the highest level of nursing. Request information today about earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice online through the LHC Group • Myers School of Nursing.