Eric Foster graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with his Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner specialization. Foster said he was motivated to get his MSN degree because he wanted to maximize his capabilities and take his career to its full potential. He chose EKU because he heard excellent reviews about the program.
“The caring and personalized attention I received at EKU exceeded my expectations and all previous experiences within the higher education system,” said Foster. “My program was well-organized and thoughtful; it was very clear the faculty communicated with each other regularly to optimize student success.”
Advanced MSN degree leads to opportunity to give back
Foster said his master’s program left him feeling exceedingly prepared for the next step in his career as a family nurse practitioner. Although he was prepared to begin his career as an FNP, it took a little time for Foster to find a position that matched his personal and professional goals.
He eventually began working at a start-up clinic in Orlando, Fla. that specializes in HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), sexually transmitted illnesses, transgender healthcare and hepatitis C. Foster says the clinic is a great fit because he feels fulfilled making a positive impact every day for the Orlando community and underserved populations within the city. Foster considers it “the biggest blessing” of his life.
In addition, it was an opportunity to expand upon what he learned in the MSN program and gain skills and experience treating new populations. He also completed additional certification as a HIV/PrEP specialist with the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
Ready to return to school for DNP
After getting settled in his new career he decided it was time to return to school and earn his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Foster completed one semester in a DNP program in Florida and realized it did not meet his expectations for an advanced degree program.
“EKU spoiled me with the incredible student support and organization, so I came running back here for my DNP,” said Foster. He admits to being “a little terrified” of starting a doctoral program but feels confident knowing EKU’s program is set up for student success.
“I came back to EKU and was welcomed by staff and educators that still remembered my name and details. This was a welcome surprise and let me know I had once again made the right choice; the welcome feeling I receive at EKU is a highlight and my favorite part of being an EKU student,” said Foster.
He continued, “The nursing program faculty are second to none (I don’t say this lightly). They provide students with methods to reach them after-hours and are always readily available for questions and support. I honestly feel a connection to EKU and am so proud to call myself an EKU alumnus.”
Life changing experience
Foster said completing his MSN degree at EKU has changed his life. “It has taken me from being a bedside nurse to a provider within the community. My degree has meant higher pay, respect, incredible opportunity, and the chance to give back to those around me. My career has been aided by increased knowledge and new skill sets, all afforded by my graduate-level education.”
“Eric exemplifies what EKU’s Rural Health FNP program hopes for our students – to become health care leaders and positive change agents in their communities,” said Dr. Margaret Zoellers, Associate Professor and FNP Program Coordinator. “We’re so proud of all Eric has accomplished thus far and are excited to welcome him back to EKU to complete his DNP.”
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