Lynn Gordy, MSN '09, RN, found her perfect first nursing job in the Medical/Surgical ICU at York Hospital in York, PA. "My patients were very sick, and I loved taking care of them," says the former full-time stay-at-home mother of five who became an RN when her youngest was in elementary school. "It's very rewarding to help someone get better, and if one of my ICU patients died, it was a privilege to be with the patient in those last moments and help a family through that."
Five years into her nursing career, Gordy, then a single mom, wanted to learn more and develop as a leader in the field. After a cursory look at nursing programs offering a critical care component, Gordy knew that the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Adult Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner MSN program was the perfect choice. "There were other Acute Care programs out there, but few schools offer Critical Care, which was exactly what I wanted. And it was Hopkins," she adds.
In 2007, Gordy entered the MSN program as a full-time student, became engaged, and moved her family to Maryland. She took it all in stride, immersing herself in the program's small classes and exciting clinical rotations. "The class size, especially in Acute Care, was a wonderful benefit," Gordy says. "The discussions were very intimate, and we could really go into detail."
Rotations, though, were hands-down her favorite aspect of the program. Each rotation both broadened her professional experience and sharpened her passion for critical care. After requesting a rotation in neurology, she was placed in Kernan Hospital's multi-trauma and spinal cord unit. During a subsequent rotation in the ICU at the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center, she discovered a love for trauma nursing.
After graduating, the newly married Gordy and her husband moved to Montana, which had always been his dream. Nurse practitioners, she discovered, are used extensively on the East Coast, but "not so much in the middle of the country," she explains. Billings Clinic Hospital had a position open for a neurosurgery nurse practitioner, and with her Hopkins rotation, Gordy knew it was a job she would enjoy. Two days a week, she assists with back, neck, and brain surgery, while the other three days are spent in clinic and rounds. On the weekend, Gordy can be found outdoors, soaking in the beauty of "Big Sky" country and nearby Yellowstone National Park.
After only four months in her new position and as one of only three Acute Care nurse practitioners in the hospital, Gordy approached the director of nursing to collaborate on how the hospital could better use nurse practitioners as resources. "I feel a responsibility to do something if there is a problem and to be nurse leader," she says with pride. "Hopkins gave me the tools and confidence to do this."
Learn more about the Adult Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner program