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Dannah Moore Plans for Future by Becoming Student in Online MSN Program


NKU MSN PMHN student Dannah Moore

After starting as a nursing assistant a decade ago, Dannah Moore has built up her career, landing a consultant role with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

"I don't work only with the population with mental health issues, but I keep seeing this growing demand and need in our community," she said. "There's a big gap where people with mental illness don't have the resources. Especially with COVID-19, there's a big need for psychiatric services."

That led Moore to enroll in the online Master of Science in Nursing – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She is on track to graduate in May 2023.

"This degree will take my career on a different trajectory," she said. "Especially working for the state, there's not much advancement.

"My job has worked well with my family so far, but now that I am getting older, it's time for a new chapter. It will open up doors, big time."

Moore and her husband, Michael, have two daughters — Bebe (13) and Eva (9). So, the online format was crucial to her ability to return to college and maintain a job.

"I like the online model. It helps so much when you work full time. It's very flexible," she said. "I did my bachelor's degree online, as well. I can still go to a soccer game and then come home and do my schoolwork. We went out of town for spring break. I took my laptop and did some work."

NKU's online MSN – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program seems as though it was tailor-made for Moore.

"The way the NKU program is set up is two classes every seven weeks," she said. "I like the fast pace of it. As soon as you start to get burned out, the class is over and you're in a new one. It keeps you fresh and engaged.

"NKU's tuition is also fair and reasonable — it's almost half of what the other schools I looked at charge. NKU checked all of the boxes with the accelerated program, no out-of-state tuition and not having to go on campus."

Starting Up

Moore was born in Clearwater, Florida, but she spent most of her life in Atlanta. When her late father, John Lee, was diagnosed with cancer, she discovered an interest in healthcare.

"When he got sick, it struck me when I was going to visit him and to radiology and oncology that these people have such an impact; they have the ability to make or break somebody's day," she said. "I wanted to work in hospice, but I had no experience."

So, Moore became a certified nurse assistant and graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Southwestern Community College in 2011, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of South Carolina Upstate seven years later.

"I went on to get my LPN, then my ADN and my BSN," she said. "I have been progressing. It's definitely what I wanted to do with my life."

The knowledge Moore is gaining in the online master's degree program applies to her job, and she gained the most valuable information from the harder courses.

"Human Pathophysiology was one of the first ones that was intense," she said. "There was also the Psych-Mental Health Assessment and Diagnosis course for which you have to film yourself doing a full head-to-toe assessment.

"They were stressful, but I took a lot away from those two classes. The Psychotherapy for the Psych-Mental Health NP class I am in now feels like I am beyond the base of the MSN core classes. I am getting into what my goal has been."

Multiple Options

Moore will be the first person in her immediate family to earn a master's degree. Especially since she did not walk in commencement for her previous nursing degrees, she would like to be present at NKU on graduation day.

"My husband has been very supportive," she said. "It's been hard, and my daughters have had to make sacrifices, but it's shown them there aren't any barriers. No matter how old you are, go for it. Just put your mind to it. Also, try to do it early."

Once Moore completes the online MSN – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, she has her sights set on working at iTrust Wellness Group in Greenville, S.C.

"They look at the whole picture and operate on a holistic model," she said. "I had the opportunity to shadow them because I am going to do some of my clinical rotations there. I like that practice.

"Some of the adjunct instructors I've had at NKU have also caught my attention. I have thought that I would not mind doing that, as well, on the side. I'm trying to keep an open mind."

Moore — who enjoys cooking, reading and doing yoga in her free time — believes being committed is the biggest key to success as an online student.

"The material in this program is hard work," she said. "It takes a lot of dedication and organization. If you're not 100% in, it's tough. I am very impressed with the program and with NKU."

Learn more about NKU's online MSN – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.


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