M.Sc in Nursing (Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner) candidate
Charlotte Holmgren visiting family in Sweden
On the Quest for Knowledge
by Filza Naveed, June 2014
Charlotte Holmgren has an insatiable appetite for knowledge and information which are indispensable tools for empowering one’s self.
That is why she decided to apply for an MSc in Nursing (Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner) — a dual program which offers Holmgren the opportunity to gain both theoretical as well as practical skills.
“When I started the program in 2013, it was still an option to simply do the nurse practitioner certificate program without doing a Masters. However, I was aware that other provinces required nurses to have a Masters in order to practice and that Ontario would be following suit. I wanted to be ahead of the game and I knew that the dual program at Queen’s University was the perfect fit for me,” she says.
Holmgren was also aware that any nurse practitioner needs to be able to use evidence based care and that aspect involves understanding research and literature. She was confident that the dual program at Queen’s would allow her to gain a solid understanding of the theoretical concepts in Nursing which she would then be able to apply in the field.
“What makes the dual Masters and Nurse Practitioner program different from a strictly thesis based Masters is that you are placed in a clinical setting where you can practice. In the thesis based program, students might be collecting data in a clinical facility but they don’t practice as a nurse practitioner student,” she says.
She claims that if you want to be a nurse practitioner, you need to not only be able to grasp information quickly and understand the theoretical underpinnings behind certain concepts, but you also need to be able to utilize that knowledge in a field that’s constantly evolving.
Always passionate about the health sciences, Holmgren moved to the Limestone City three and a half years ago after pursuing an undergraduate degree in Nursing from Western University. She started working as a nurse at the Kingston General Hospital. Her thirst for knowledge led her to research on Masters programs in Ontario and she immediately felt that Queen’s would be the right place for her.
“While I was researching potential Nursing programs, Queens kept coming out on top when I was weighing the pros and cons. I even talked to practising University of Ottawa students and they told me that Queens graduates are better prepared compared to others because they get a lot more clinical time which is so needed when you’re in a profession like Nursing. That’s how you really learn things,” says Holmgren.
Having formed a strong bond with the Kingston community during her time here, Holmgren knew that her decision to choose Queen’s was a no brainer.
“I was scared that I might not get in because it’s a competitive program. They usually take in around 6 students per year for the combined Masters and Nurse Practitioner stream. Queens was my first choice so I was very happy to know that I got accepted. I’ve talked to people in similar programs in other universities and it seems like we do have the best opportunities and the most amount of placements. I would advise undergraduate students interested in applying to get to know their professors. In the end, it is their references that make a difference,” she remarks.
She also feels that the professors in her program have really helped her and her peers by fostering an environment where the students can openly approach the instructors for help.
“Our professors are always looking for opportunities for us and getting us involved in different things. It’s a rigorous program but you have all the support around you. That definitely helps a lot,” says Holmgren.
She admits that she didn’t realize how much work it would be but strongly believes that it was worth every minute of her time.
“It’s pretty great to see how far my peers and I have come since September 2013 in terms of our knowledge and communication. I would highly recommend this program to aspiring Nursing students looking for higher education,” she says.
She looks forward to becoming a nurse practitioner after finishing her Masters but her long term goal is to teach at the post-secondary level.
“I’ve had a couple of opportunities to do nursing labs with students and I really enjoyed that interaction. So I’m really hoping to teach,” she says.
She’s excited about the future and is set to graduate in the summer of 2015.
“It has been a remarkable learning experience and there’s more to come. One can never stop learning,” she says.
Charlotte (LtoR) -
Standing on top of the Perlan in Reykjavik, Iceland;
With her brother in Vaxholm, Sweden;
At the summit of Mount Jo in the Adirondacks