Scholarship-Winning D.N.P. Student Improving Life for the Elderly

Felicitas Suba

Holding her Ground with Grit: A Conversation with American Association of Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Winner Felicitas Suba (D.N.P. '20, Barbara H. Hagan School of Nursing and Health Sciences)


By Susanna Stickley

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule Felicitas. Would you start off by telling us about your background - where did you go to undergraduate and graduate school?

I completed my undergraduate nursing degree in 2003 at University of Santo Tomas in Manila. I moved to New York City and started practicing as a Registered Nurse (RN) after passing my boards. The bulk of my experience as an RN was in the Emergency Department at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. I stayed in the ED for about eight years. I loved working in the emergency room environment because of all the clinical knowledge and skills I gained from that experience. While working in the ED, I went back to pursue my Master's Degree in Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) at Molloy College. I graduated in 2013 and successfully passed my boards the same year.

I now work for Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. I feel very fortunate to be working at Weill Cornell because my role allows me to combine research and evidence-based practice in the field of geriatric care. I also work per diem for UnitedHealth Group/Optum under the Transition-to-Skilled (TTS) Program. Under the TTS program, I strive to enhance coordinated care among geriatricians and the rest of the interdisciplinary team to deliver the highest possible quality of care to geriatric patients. In 2017, I went back to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree at Molloy College. I am currently working on my D.N.P. scholarly project, "Implementation of an Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Educational Program in the Long-term Care Facility." I expect to graduate in May 2020.

Why did you choose Molloy for your D.N.P.?

I had a very good experience at Molloy during my journey to earn the ANP. When I learned that Molloy had established a D.N.P. program, I was very happy, I always knew I would return to Molloy. The curriculum was robust, and I became even more motivated to enroll when I read about the program's hybrid (in-person and online) format. It meets all of my academic and clinical goals as an advanced practice nurse.

Would you describe your research and the work you are doing right now?

My DNP scholarly project is entitled "Implementation of an Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Educational Program in the Long-term Care Facility." I implemented the Fall Management Program (FMP) established by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality at a long-term care setting in Manhattan. The FMP is a multifaceted program that consists of several components including fall response for a comprehensive approach in fall management, data collection and analysis for accurate measurement system, long-term management of fall risk factors, information and training for staff education (in-service training), and living space inspection for environment and equipment safety of older adult residents in long-term care.

I implemented the in-service fall prevention training component of the FMP and educated the entire staff at the facility, including students and volunteers. My D.N.P. project is a quality improvement (QI) initiative that utilizes a pre-test/post-test design to evaluate the knowledge of the staff about common multifactorial causes of fall, and offers strategies to reduce modifiable risks before and after the educational intervention. I also conducted a program evaluation to assess the attitude and behavior of the facility staff post-implementation. I obtained the fall rate and fall-related injury rate three months before and after the intervention. I am now conducting the data analysis and the results are promising so far.

What is the significance of the AANP scholarship? How does receiving this scholarship impact your life?

One of my favorite quotes that I apply in my academic life at Molloy came from John F. Kennedy, "The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth." My interest in disseminating my DNP project drove me to pursue a scholarship application for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). My ultimate goal is to use this scholarship fund to propagate my D.N.P. project not just locally, but also nationally. I'd love to do a podium presentation in the future at a national D.N.P. conference. I've always believed that incremental efforts can make big improvements in the future. Receiving the AANP scholarship fund serves as the initial step that allows me to move at a much faster pace in creating change than just writing my paper and hoping it lands on the right desk.

Why did you choose to pursue the D.N.P.? How will the work you are doing now support your dreams and goals for the future?

I am proud to be a nurse because nurses have a comprehensive role in health care. Nurses teach the community, improve quality care, act as patient advocates, and change lives. Obtaining a D.N.P. degree elevates the nursing profession, it raises the bar of advanced nursing practice and achieves the highest level of clinical expertise needed to improve outcomes at the individual, organizational, and population level. I am pursuing the D.N.P. degree because I want to enhance my conceptual and analytical skills in appraising the connection between evidence-based practice, population health, and health care policy issues.

My true dream in life is to leave a lasting impact on health care for the older adult population through continuous integration of service activities including clinical education about fall prevention, collaborative work with the QI team to improve fall prevention processes in the long-term care facility, and active involvement in research to advance the science of geriatric nursing practice. Acquiring a D.N.P. degree with a concentration in Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner at Molloy College will help me achieve my goal.

Are there any particular aspects of studying at Molloy that you think are unique?

The blended online learning feature of the D.N.P. program at Molloy is truly unique and beneficial for a working nursing professional. The health care policy for advocacy in health care course, which includes a one-week intensive immersion in Washington, D.C. to explore the United States health care system was a life-changing experience. I learned how to effectively petition to designated leaders of congress to cause positive change in health care policy at the federal level. It was truly a transformative experience.

The DNP forum, which showcases the scholarly works of the graduating D.N.P. students is my favorite. It is a productive presentation of all the D.N.P. projects that the students have worked hard on for three years. It is great to see their projects come alive.

What would you tell someone considering the D.N.P. to focus on as they start their journey?

Believing you can accomplish your ultimate dream in life is a huge step in the right direction. The single most important quality that will determine your long-term success in the D.N.P. program is grit in its truest form. Passion, patience, and perseverance become one through grit. I am still holding my ground with grit and I love it!

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