(PODCAST) Nurse Leaders: A conversation with Colonel Deedra Zabokrtsky, Chief Nursing Officer

May 14, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with U.S. Air Force Colonel and Capella DNP graduate Deedra Zabokrtsky.

U. S. Air Force Colonel Deedra Zabokrtsky

U. S. Air Force Colonel Deedra Zabokrtsky

Deedra and I spoke about her career as a nurse in the Air Force, her decision to go back to school to get her DNP, and what she feels she has taken from her degree program and applied to her position as Chief Nursing Officer. We also discussed nurse leadership and how important nurse leaders are to the profession.

I’m very grateful for her service and the service of all our learners in uniform. I hope you enjoy the podcast.


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Changing the conversation from delivery methods to outcomes

May 11, 2015

Last week, WCCO News in Minneapolis aired a segment about how employers view online degree programs. Capella was mentioned as a reputable online university that is shifting the perception of online education, along with Stanford and Princeton. Check out the article here.

While it’s important to discuss the changing perception of online education in the marketplace – there is a larger conversation to have about learning outcomes and employer and student needs. An innovation that is addressing the unique needs of working adult college students and employers is direct assessment, competency-based education. This model is turning the traditional world of higher education upside down by measuring learning outcomes rather than “seat time” like the credit hour.

Direct-assessment programs, like Capella’s FlexPath, allow students to advance at their own pace, which can substantially reduce the cost and time needed to earn a degree. And by using a competency-based approach, a degree program can be designed from the ground up with the specific competencies that employers need. Competency-based direct assessment programs are beneficial to both students and employers: students can be confident that a direct-assessment program is equipping them with the skills they need to be immediately successful in the workplace; and employers who have been vocal about having jobs to fill but lack employees with the skills to be successful can be assured that graduates have mastered the skills they need.

There has been a shift in who is considered a “typical college student”. Most students today are working adults, with years – sometimes decades – of professional experience, and must juggle the competing responsibilities of family, work and school. These learners need this new competency-based direct assessment model so they are able to earn a degree that respects and acknowledges their experience and time constraints. Our country needs them to earn degrees in order for the US to remain globally competitive.

The transparency of such a learning-outcomes based academic program solves the accountability problem for consumers, institutions and employers. Rather than focusing on traditional versus online, let’s work on building our educational programs to deliver agreed-upon, standard and specialized skills needed by today’s and tomorrow’s employers.

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(PODCAST) Katie Duke’s Journey in Nursing

May 6, 2015

“I felt like there was just something bigger out there waiting for me, but I had to go get it myself.” – Katie Duke

In honor of Nurses’ Week, we have a special podcast with “NY Med” nurse, Katie Duke, RN, MSN, AGACNP-BC. Katie is a public figure and nurse advocate. She works as a critical care nurse in New York and has made various TV appearances including ABC, New York Med, and NY ER on the Oprah Winfrey Network and Discovery Health channels.


Katie Duke, RN, MSN, AGACNP-BC

This year, Katie partnered with Capella University to promote the nursing profession and to inspire nurses to be strong leaders and patient advocates. As a social media expert, Katie was a panelist during a recent Capella Google Hangout discussing the benefits of social media for nurses. (Dr. Christy Davidson, Capella’s nursing director recently did a guest blog post about the informative event.)

Katie and I had a conversation about her journey both as a nurse and how she came to be in the spotlight. She has an inspirational story about the choices she’s made in her career and how she got to where she is today. You can listen here.


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(PODCAST): Helping FlexPath grads cross the finish line: A conversation with FlexPath coach, Stephanie Luetgers

May 5, 2015


I was lucky to have the opportunity to speak with FlexPath coach Stephanie Luetgers on today’s podcast. As you may remember, the Education Matters podcast kicked off with a series on our FlexPath graduates. Several of them mentioned one person by name – Stephanie. Stephanie is a critical part of the FlexPath team here at Capella.

I had a great time talking with Stephanie about supporting learners in the FlexPath program, who she thinks is a good candidate for the FlexPath program, and advice for FlexPath learners on how to overcome common challenges of the program. She also tells me a bit about her Australian Rules football team! Here’s a link to the podcast.

Thanks to Stephanie for the support and encouragement she provides our FlexPath learners, and for taking the time to talk to me.

Transcript here.

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#iAMaNURSE in a Social Media World

May 1, 2015

Today’s guest post is from Christy Davidson, DNP, RNC–OB, director of nursing at Capella University.


This afternoon, I had the exciting opportunity to moderate a Google Hangout panel hosted by Capella and the ANA Leadership Institute titled “#iAMaNURSE in a Social Media World.” Joining me on the expert panel was Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN (@thenerdynurse), Katie Duke, RN MSN, A GA CNP-BC (@thekatieduke), Kati Kleber, RN, BSN (@NurseEyeRoll) and Lee Aase (@LeeAase & @MayoSMHN). It was a thoughtful and engaging discussion – we covered such impactful social media do’s and don’ts tailored to the world of health care.

social media collab nurse

I encourage you to watch to the hangout here (it also qualifies for one FREE CE hour!) I’ve included a couple highlights below.

Importance of a social media policy

Lee Aase from Mayo Clinic shared his organization’s social media policy with us. He talked about how important it is for every employee to be aware of the policy and reference it often. And if your employer does not have a social media policy – encourage them to pull one together, even volunteer to help create it!

Tweet happy – be a positive representation of nursing

There’s so much negativity in the cyberspace, and nursing sometimes can be a thankless occupation. It’s so easy to head to the Internet to complain – but try to resist. The nurses on the panel today are all great examples of positive nurse role models – they stay positive and strive to be a positive representation of the profession.

Benefits of social media for nurses and their careers, along with do’s and don’ts

Community and networking – Social media is a great way to connect with other nurses to exchange motivation, support and advice.

Advance your personal brand and career – Social media gives you a way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert and your own online brand.

Learn about different areas of nursing – it’s easy in our profession to get siloed in our specific areas. Social media gives a great way for a glimpse into what other nurses specialize in – bringing our profession closer together.

Stop and think – you never want to post something that violates HIPPA or your employer’s social media policy, or anything that reflects negatively on the nursing profession. In a way, you’re tweeting for all nurses!

I feel so lucky to have met these amazing nurses and health care social media experts! We received a ton of great feedback on the hangout – one nurse tweeted us and said it was very inspiring to now be connected to nurses all over the country with a common mindset and interest in using social media to boost their knowledge and careers. Check out the entire hangout here, and let me know what you think on Twitter @ChristyCapellaU. Follow the conversation on Twitter #iAMaNURSE.

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