May 10, 2019 – ROCHESTER, MINN: Jessica McAlpine, a recent graduate of Augsburg University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – Transcultural Nursing (TCN) program, is the daughter of Debra Perry (Deb), also a recent graduate of Augsburg University’s DNP-TCN program. This mother-daughter duo recently walked together in Augsburg’s 2019 commencement ceremony, a unique, deeply meaningful life event for the two of them.
“It has been such a great joy to watch my mother complete the DNP-TCN program. She is my inspiration and my nurse hero.” says Jessica. Deb, joining the program at the age of 61, says that her decision to start the DNP program, “started with a gentle nudge,” from Jessica, and then that “gentle nudge turned into some heavy persuasion.”
Having completed the Master of Nursing program at Augsburg in 2013, Deb did not initially feel the pull to pursue another degree. Her career was set, and she did not feel that another degree would change that. For her, the cost and the time would not justify her desire to return to college once again, “I was and continue to be a nurse manager at a smaller hospital in Southeast Minnesota and felt obtaining my doctorate would not alter my career at this time in my life.” From Jessica’s perspective, seeing her mom walk across the commencement stage achieving her Master of Arts in Nursing degree was enough inspiration to continue her own education as a nurse. Jessica recalls, “I finished my bachelor’s and received my master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. When I was accepted into Augsburg’s DNP-TCN program the very first thing that I did was call my mother and ask her to apply. It took some sweet-talking, but she did it!” Deb mentions that Jessica was “so excited about the transcultural aspect of the DNP program,” and Jessica knew that transcultural aspect was a dream of Deb’s as well.
Jessica reflects on the DNP-TCN program at Augsburg, “Before starting this program, I had often thought in more linear pathways and functioned [as a nurse] in Western medicine capacity with a focus on pharmaceutical and procedural modalities. I now have a deepened understanding of sacred intention, the power of transpersonal caring relationships, and of how to incorporate holistic caring into my medical practice to achieve wellness.” Jessica adds that watching her mother’s dedication to nursing and education, as well as participating in part of that journey has been an honor.
Deb’s career began as an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and initially she did not envision herself going back to school to complete her bachelor’s degree. Jessica had completed her associate’s degree as a cardiac tech monitor. Deb noticed how insightful and good Jessica was at that job, and she encouraged her daughter to keep going and complete her Bachelor of Nursing Science degree. The two discovered their mutual love for nursing, and then Jessica began encouraging her mom to finish her bachelor’s degree. Deb comments that, “at different times we have inspired each other to reach for more,” and in doing so, the two have discovered more about other cultures and more about each other. Deb adds, “We could have reached the DNP goal at different times, but honestly it is the journey with my daughter that made the work worth it and more fun!” When Deb graduated from high school in 1973, there weren’t as many opportunities for women as there are now, and college was not an expectation. But Deb realized that ending her education at the LPN level was not enough. Completing this terminal program has felt like an accomplishment and she hopes that she inspires other women to achieve their dreams, adding that, “it is never too late.”
Jessica and Deb took each of their DNP-TCN classes together, and after three years, they also finished the program together. For Deb, “nursing is a vocation and learning about others is a life-long passion of mine. Augsburg University is undeniably the perfect fit for me as a student of the human experience. Having the opportunity to share this DNP journey with my daughter was a gift that only happens when one is open and willing to take a leap of faith.”