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DNP Grad: UL Lafayette Faculty Are ‘Second to None’

UL Online -- Wed, 12/15/2021 - 12:11pm

For Jason Jarrett, CRNA, there is no such thing as “coincidence.” 

“Everything about my career and sometimes my life happens very rapidly and very spontaneously,” he says. “I’m a Christian so I believe that God places me in these positions.”

“Rapidly” and “spontaneously” are exactly how Jarrett came to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program online. Now at the culmination of his terminal degree, Jarrett says he can’t imagine having attended anywhere else. 

Jumping in

Jarrett earned an M.S. in Nurse Anesthesia in 2003 and had been a practicing CRNA — certified registered nursing anesthetist — for 17 years and involved in CRNA education for 12 years. However, industry standards have changed in that time, with entry-level education for CRNAs moving to a doctoral degree.

“So, for me to continue to be involved in CRNA education, I would need to obtain my doctorate, as well,” Jarrett says. “And so I decided at that point to go ahead and make that transition.”

He had begun tentatively looking into Doctor of Nursing Practice programs when a conversation with a friend set his course. Jarrett was speaking to a friend’s wife about group dinner plans when she added her husband, who is a CRNA, was starting UL Lafayette’s online DNP program that week and the two CRNAs should pursue their degrees together. 

“Within 48 hours, I was in the program,” Jarrett says. “It was a pure blessing that I stumbled upon UL Lafayette.”

Taking on another job

To earn his doctoral degree, Jarrett knew he needed an online program. He works full-time at the Oschner-LSU tertiary care center in Shreveport and runs a company to provide anesthetists to medical offices across northern Louisiana. On top of that, Jarrett advocates with a national CRNA organization on regulations for office-based anesthesia.

“It was not going to be feasible for me to have to go off to attend a DNP program. It had to be an online program for me,” he says. “UL Lafayette’s online format was just perfect.”

It was also an entirely new experience for Jarrett, who had never taken a single online class.

"I had to bring myself up to speed very quickly and just figure out that I had to be very organized and not procrastinate on certain things,” he says. “It was certainly a challenge.”

Connecting with faculty

Jarrett credits UL Lafayette’s graduate nursing faculty for his success and the success of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at large. 

The DNP program includes a two-day intensive at the start of the Fall semester to equip students with the skills and resources needed for the program. But Jarrett’s unusually rapid enrollment meant he missed the intensive. 

DNP coordinator and Associate Professor Dr. Roger Rholdon addressed that for Jarrett and two other CRNAs who had enrolled in the program.

“He was nice enough to travel up to Shreveport and meet with us for a number of hours to kind of give us a mini-intensive, which was just excellent,” says Jarrett. “I think that this program would not be as successful as it is without Dr. Roger Rholdon. I've been involved in CRNA education for 13 years, and he certainly sets the standard for all educators.”

Jarrett says with multiple colleagues enrolled in DNP programs through other universities, he was able to gain additional context for his experience. 

“The collaboration between the students and the graduate faculty at UL Lafayette is second to none. That is not the standard at other universities,” he says. “The UL faculty are paid to do this graduate instruction, but they're not paid to give the extra effort, heart, off-hours advice, and they do. That's what stands out to me the most is just the faculty, and I don't say that lightly at all.”

Text over graphic: The collaboration between the students and the graduate faculty at UL Lafayette is second to none.

Applying theory to practice

After two years of doctoral studies, Jarrett says he is re-learning how to relax, but he isn’t leaving the program completely behind. 

Jarrett’s culminating synthesis project — “Reducing Day-of Surgery Cancellations at an Academic Tertiary Care Center” — drew upon studies that show the effects of surgery cancellations for patients, health outcomes, and for the medical institution. The goal was to first evaluate what factors caused surgeries to be canceled day-of and then develop an evidence-based intervention to mitigate those factors to reduce cancellations.

He says he plans to continue developing the project to reduce cancellations and improve patient outcomes. 

"We'll expand it out to different service lines,” says Jarrett. “We’ll evaluate areas that have a significant day-of surgery cancellation rate so we can evaluate what their barriers are and be able to develop interventions to mitigate those, as well.”

Develop the knowledge and skills to use evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes across systems and populations. Request information today about UL Lafayette’s online DNP program, with tracks for BSN- and MSN-prepared nurses.