Cal State L.A. student garners Outstanding DNP Student award

8 Cal State L.A. students among the first graduating cohort of CSU’s nursing doctorate program

Myriam Boutary, who will be among the first graduates of the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree program from Cal State L.A., has been named the Outstanding Doctor of Nursing Practice Student by the California State University's (CSU) Southern California DNP Consortium. The CSU program was designed to educate nurses for advanced practice and to educate future nursing faculty members.

“Boutary was selected because of her academic excellence and her contribution to nursing,” said Professor Paula K. Vuckovich, coordinator of the Cal State L.A. DNP program. "Her project titled 'A Mentor: A Framework for Empowering the Ambulatory Care Clinician in Patient Satisfaction' was very impressive."

Boutary is a certified family nurse practitioner and licensed as a registered nurse. She has more than a decade experience working in the healthcare industry. Currently, she is a clinic manager for a major retail health organization and has been a family nurse practitioner with the company since 2009.  She previously worked as a registered nurse at Glendale Memorial Hospital, and as an orthopedic clinic research associate at the Dorr Arthritis Institute. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from UCLA in 2004 and her master’s degree in nursing from Cal State L.A. in 2009.

"It’s an honor for us to be among the first and to help lead the transformation of healthcare by elevating the field of nursing and its critical role in the future of primary care," said Boutary, about receiving the award.

“I’m also pleased to be recognized as the Outstanding DNP because I chose to pursue this education initially for my own personal and professional growth,” she said. “What this experience has done is put me in touch with so many extraordinary nurse clinicians, educators and administrators who have directly impacted the way that I practice and lead my team every day.  So to be named ‘outstanding’ among 28 DNP students who each exemplify ‘outstanding’ in their own way is a significant recognition—and I am humbled to receive it."

This month, Boutary and 27 other graduates of the inaugural class earned their doctoral degrees in the CSU program. However, Boutary along with seven Cal State L.A. DNP candidates will be officially hooded during the College of Health and Human Services Commencement ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, June 14, at 2 p.m. in the University Stadium.

Other Cal State L.A. DNP graduates include: Stacy Bower, Anna Carchi, Lisa Evans, Raymund Gantioque, Jean O'Neil, Tim Stacy and Helen Sun.

The doctoral program is the product of state legislation adopted in 2010 that allowed the CSU to offer the degree program to help fulfill the need for nursing faculty members and nurses nationwide. The nation's nursing shortage is projected to reach 800,000 by 2020. In California, which ranks 49th for registered nurses per capita, the shortage is estimated to be as high as 50,000 by 2015. The CSU joint program was launched at Cal State Fullerton in 2012.

The Southern California CSU DNP Consortium is composed of the CSU campuses at Los Angeles as well as Fullerton and Long Beach. Students complete their first year at Fullerton and their second at Los Angeles, Fullerton, or Long Beach. The other CSU-approved doctor of nursing practice program is a consortium between Fresno State and San Jose State, which is graduating students this year as well.

The U.S. News and World Report 2013 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” edition has ranked Cal State L.A.’s nursing master’s degree program among the top in the nation. The School of Nursing now comprises about 550 nursing majors, more than 400 undergraduate nursing students, more than 150 graduate students and 11 full-time faculty members.

Professor and Director Cynthia Hughes of Cal State L.A.’s School of Nursing, indicated that she and her colleagues have envisioned such a program before the approved legislation, so she is very pleased that Cal State L.A. is now graduating its first class of nursing doctorates.

“All those involved have really benefitted from the CSU DNP program,” she said. “The faculty members truly enjoyed working with the doctoral students. We were able to develop great partnerships and collegial relationships with Fullerton and Long Beach. Students also shared that it’s been a rewarding and enriching experience for them.”

Penny C. Weismuller, associate professor of nursing at CSUF and the director of the Southern California consortium, said what has impressed her most about this inaugural class is the rapid integration of leadership, advocacy and scholarship among the students.

“Most impressive has been the rich learning the students have had from the collegial experience with their cohort members,” Weismuller said. “One student said it best when she replied to a discussion prompt, ‘Before we started the DNP, we were enclosed within our own specialties; now we have rediscovered the depth and breadth of the entire nursing profession, and it makes us proud to be nurses.’”

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