There is an “aha!” moment that graduate students experience in the University of Mobile’s Family Nurse Practitioner program, says School of Nursing assistant professor and clinical coordinator Dr. Jessica Garner, DNP, FNP-C, CNE.
“At some point in each student’s trajectory, they have that ‘aha!’ moment where they realize what it means to step out of their role as nurse and into their new role of provider. Watching those moments is my favorite part of teaching,” she says.
Garner teaches in the Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, with tracks for BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner and Post-Master’s to DNP.
Both online graduate programs in the College of Health Professions begin each fall semester and include on-campus intensives using cutting-edge technology in UM’s Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice.
We spoke with Garner about her own journey from nurse to nurse educator, and what it means to teach nursing at this Christ-centered university.
Q. What is your background?
A. My background consists of inpatient care within local hospitals in my hometown of Mobile. I began my nursing career in the neurological intensive care unit after graduating with my BSN from Springhill College in 2010. I worked in other critical care units prior to graduating from University of Alabama at Birmingham with my MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner degree in 2014. I continued to work in the inpatient setting as a nurse practitioner for a pulmonary and critical care group as I worked to complete my doctorate degree. My doctoral research was focused on evaluating approaches to transitional care in an effort to reduce rehospitalizations. I completed by Doctor of Nursing Practice degree along with graduate courses in nursing education in 2018 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with the goal of pursuing a career in academia post-graduation.
Q. What do you enjoy about teaching?
A. I teach many courses in both the Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. My greatest joy and privilege is in serving my Family Nurse Practitioner students. I teach these students in each semester they are in the program, and watching them grow and evolve into competent and confident providers is truly rewarding.
Q. Why should someone choose a graduate nursing program at UM?
A. Choosing a graduate program in nursing is an opportunity to find an institution, program and faculty that can help the individual student achieve his or her specific advanced career goals. The University of Mobile graduate nursing programs offer didactic and clinical preparation to serve as an advanced practice provider, while also instilling Christian values and morals that aid students in navigating the complex health care landscape.