Two nurses find their road ahead a little easier to travel

Kristin Pritts, RN, learns something new every day.

And that’s why she chose, once again, to return to school.

Pritts recently enrolled in Illinois State’s Mennonite College of Nursing for a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP).  

She says that support from Carle helped make it possible. Pritts used benefits like tuition assistance, but she and colleague Jennifer Durst, NP, weren't expecting to earn this year’s Compton Tuition Assistance benefit.

They will now have $2,500 each to help offset the education cost.

This benefit comes from the Marion E. Compton Education Fund, established in 1987 to honor one of Carle’s first registered nurses. It augments benefits such as tuition assistance that already exist at Carle.

The fund operates from donations through Carle Center for Philanthropy.

“I think the DNP program represents a great opportunity to keep moving forward in my career by developing professionally,” Pritts said. “It’s natural to focus on some of the barriers from time-to-time, but Carle makes this more manageable. And support like Compton Tuition Assistance encourages nurses to reach their highest level.”

Similarly, Durst, a nurse practitioner with Trauma Services, believes her DNP studies will result in a better patient experience.

“Not that long ago, I took a class and it was great to learn how to best to manage others,” Durst said. “It’s a good thing I like that, because I want to identify problems within our practice and help lay out ways to best move our staff forward.”

She believes her next step in education will only build on an 11-year career dedicated to helping patients. 

Durst understands why nurses question how best to move forward in their career, while also trying to balance a life away from work and the classroom.

“The decision to return to school to obtain my doctorate was difficult,” Durst said. “However, I believe that by obtaining my DNP degree, I can better serve my patients, add to Carle as a whole, and move forward in my career as a nurse practitioner.

“Earning this award not only helps financially, it further validates Carle's commitment to help support their employees in their professional growth.”