Dr. Deborah Chandler is an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) for Dr. P. Phillips Hospital Neurology Associates. She sees patients with various neurologic disorders, but primarily multiple sclerosis.

What has changed since earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree?

“It has given me more confidence in my ability to make a difference in our neurology center. Prior to obtaining my D.N.P. degree, I would have never thought about, or even considered, writing a grant. UCF’s D.N.P. program helped me realize that I could. As a result, I decided to write a $20,000 grant to fund a part-time social worker for our center. I’m proud to say it was funded by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. UCF’s D.N.P. program also helped me realize that writing for publication should be an integral component of my nursing practice.”

What does a D.N.P. degree mean to your patients and to your employer?

“My patients and my employer are getting a better ARNP, which (hopefully) equates to better patient outcomes. My employer was very supportive during the three years I was in school, and since graduating, has encouraged expansion of my role.”

What would you say to someone interested in advanced practice, but feels a little intimidated by the D.N.P.?

“Just take the first step. Attend the orientation, apply, interview and see what happens. I was thinking the same thing because of the time commitment involved, and because technology has changed the way people learn so much, I wasn’t sure I could adapt. I can honestly say that I barely blinked and the next thing I knew I was walking up to the podium to accept my diploma. You develop such a wonderful network of colleagues who become your support system during the program and your friends for life as well. The faculty is also very supportive, inspiring and very clinical, which is so reassuring to a clinical person. I’m so glad I took the first step!”

Dr. Chandler graduated from UCF with her Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree in Summer 2010. Her doctoral thesis explored and compared ARNP and physician malpractice in states with and without controlled substance prescribing authority. She is one of nine students who made up the College of Nursing’s inaugurial class of post-master’s D.N.P. students.