Thrive by IU Health

June 02, 2021

Chief Nursing Officer receives DNP

IU Health Frankfort Hospital

Chief Nursing Officer receives DNP
Marilyn Riley serves as vice president and chief nursing officer at IU Health Frankfort

Marilyn Riley, vice president and chief nursing officer at IU Health Frankfort, recently completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). DNP is designed to produce leaders in nursing. Such nurses possess the highest level of nursing expertise and work wither in a clinical setting or leadership role upon obtaining the required credentials. They possess adept knowledge to influence healthcare outcomes through organizational leadership, health policy implementation and direct patient care.

Those who earn a DNP have completed the highest level of training in nursing practice.

Why did you choose to obtain your DNP?

I chose to obtain my DNP to become an influencer of nursing practice. The DNP is a terminal nursing degree that validates the expertise I have as a nursing leader and clinician. Making the decision to pursue my DNP was multifaceted. I already held a PhD, in a non-nursing field. However, being in an executive nurse leader position, I felt compelled to pursue the DNP to support my career goals.

What was the focus of your DNP?

The program I attended was through the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The focus of the program was on nursing leadership and clinical excellence. This program is specifically designed for Nurse Practitioners and focused on expertise in the practice environment and on translating evidence-based care into practice.

Serving as vice president and chief nursing officer of Frankfort hospital, while building a new hospital during a pandemic . . . where did you find the time?

I am a very goal-oriented, focused person. My top 5 strengths from Strength Finders are Input, Positivity, Learner, Achiever and Responsibility. Because I have strength in these areas, I find learning essential and consider myself a lifelong learner. Pursing a second doctoral degree was not easy, but it was fun. I love to learn. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. Perhaps learning comes easy to me, but I love it!

How long did this degree take?

This program was designed for working nurses. The program was full-time and took me 2 and a half years to complete.

You have many letters now, DNP, PhD, MSN, RN, APRN-BC, FNP, NE-BC. Is there one that stands out among the others?

I have to say that they all build on or support one another. All my education, experience and certifications, have led me to where I am today. I am so grateful for the ability to pursue not only one doctoral degree but two. I am so fortunate to have the support of my husband, as I spent many long hours writing and researching.

What’s next?

I begin the next and likely last degree pursuit in January 2021 for my MBA in Healthcare Management. This degree will complete my educational goals. Of course, as a lifelong learner, I will continue to read, write and plan to publish my work, along with continuing to speak at national nursing conferences.

Congratulations Marilyn Riley!