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PNW’s first doctorate degrees awarded at graduation

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PNW’s first doctorate degrees awarded at graduation

Manisa Baker, visiting assistant professor

Manisa Baker, visiting assistant professor

Photo provided.

Manisa Baker, visiting assistant professor

Photo provided.

Photo provided.

Manisa Baker, visiting assistant professor

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Two nursing students, Manisa Baker and Martha Drake, received their doctoral degrees from PNW on Saturday, Dec. 8, making them the first students to do so.

Lisa Hopp, dean of the College of Nursing, said the students in the program were rewarded for their hard work.

Hopp said nursing students at PNW take a series of 28 courses and go through rigorous practice so that their critical thinking skills can be put to the test in real life situations.

“Students worked with the clients, searched for the best research or other types of evidence to provide a solution that will have a big impact on the patients,” Hopp said.

Drake received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Valparaiso University in 1994 and received her Masters in Science with a focus in Adult Care Clinical Nursing from Purdue Calumet.

Drake then started working at Indiana University
Northwest in the school of nursing as a Lecturer of Nursing. After 3 years, she took a position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Porter Hospital.

In 2004, she went back to PUC and finished her certificate and became board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing
Center to be a Family Nurse Practitioner.

In 2015, she decided to come back to PNW to start her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, completing it on August 3, 2018.

Baker was a nurse for 20 years after she too graduated from Valparaiso University with her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree. She began to teach, but realized that her passion is in critical care.

“I was looking for the next step in my career, which is when the DNP program here at PNW started and met my needs,” Baker said.

Baker said that the DNP program  focuses on moving evidence to practice with clients.

“I like to learn and challenge myself. I also want to help patients and staff in the best way possible so I thought that this degree will help me,” said Baker.

Drake said the DNP broadened her clinical knowledge and enhanced her research skills.

To stay motivated throughout her schooling, Drake made small, realistic goals to keep herself on track.

“I also did not listen to any doubters,” Drake said. “I found you have to distance yourself from negativity to be successful.”

Baker said that her coworkers and family were very supportive and helped her to keep going in pursuing this degree.

“The knowledge of the difference that could be made once I have all this knowledge is something that motivated me to continue,” Baker said.

After graduation, Drake plans on continuing her career as a Nurse Practitioner.

“My DNP is allowing me to translate evidence to strengthen my current cardiology practice,” Drake said.

Baker said that she wishes to continue to teach at PNW after graduation.

“I also want to influence through my connections and associates the information I learned and work with people in the hospital to see if we can put these practices into use,” Baker said.

To current and future nursing students, Drake said: “Don’t ever give up.”

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