From undergrad to Doctor of Nursing Practice, grad enjoys York College journey
When Abigail Strouse decided to continue her education eight years after earning her bachelor’s degree in Nursing, there was no question she’d return to York College of Pennsylvania.
“I never really thought about going anywhere else,” she says.
Abigail went on to earn her Master of Science as a clinical nurse specialist and, most recently, completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at York College.
“From the beginning of my undergrad through the doctoral program,” she says, “I was able to form long-lasting relationships with people from the connections that I made.”
Today, Abigail serves as a clinical director for surgery, neurology and orthopedics at WellSpan York Hospital, where she oversees five departments and coordinates services and care.
Choosing YCP more than once
Abigail first decided to attend York College in 1993. She grew up in Lebanon, Pa., but liked the York community. She enjoyed her initial experience with the campus and community and discussions with students about the class size.
“I looked at other places and didn’t like the feeling of a large university with large classrooms,” she says.
For her senior practicum, Abigail spent a semester alongside a professional nurse in a critical care unit at York Hospital. This experience of caring for critically ill, high-acuity patients prepared her for the real world, she says.
And, not only did Abigail develop necessary skills to become a nurse, such as critical thinking, prioritizing and delegating, it ultimately aided her career: York Hospital hired her to work in the critical care unit after she graduated, which, she says, the hospital did not commonly do for new graduates at that time.
When she later decided to return to get her master’s, she remembers the connections York College helped her established, which led to her choosing York College again.
She not only felt comfortable in the familiar environment, but she also grew to appreciate the flexibility of the York College curriculum that allowed her to attend evening classes one day per week. This schedule appeals to professionals who want to maintain their job while going back to school, she says.
Abigail’s York College education continues to open doors. As part of her doctoral program, she completed an evidence-based practice improvement project, which included researching a practice change and evaluating its effectiveness.
Linda Pugh, a former YCP faculty member, was one of the founding nurses of the Johns Hopkins evidence-based practice model.
She and her peers published “Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice Model and Guidelines,” a book used by nursing programs across the nation that describes how to implement evidence-based practice projects.
For an upcoming revision of the book, Abigail’s exemplar was accepted for inclusion and, as a result, her scholarly project work was showcased.
“It just puts a ribbon on top of everything and solidifies that what I did in the doctoral program was meaningful work,” she says.
From start to finish
When Abigail looks back on her education, one of the things she appreciates most was York College’s focus on leadership, which she says was a focal point from start to finish.
“What I like is that YCP emphasized not just learning and book skills but had a strong focus on how to become a transformational leader,” she says. “Due to my maturation from my Bachelor’s to my doctoral program, I learned how to become a more effective leader.”
She says prospective York College students can have the same positive experience thanks to encouraging and supporting nature of the faculty.
“They want to see their students be successful,” Abigail says, “and they find opportunities for their students.”