Danielle Iorio

Alumni Profile: Lisa Danielle Iorio, MSN/FNP

Danielle Iorio

Why earn an MSN? Hear insight from an alumna of the online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program.

One of the best parts of Lisa Danielle Iorio’s role as a family nurse practitioner? Knowing that she’s impacting the lives of her patients, every day.

A graduate of the online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN FNP) program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), Iorio is putting her knowledge to work as an FNP at CVS Minute Clinic and in a part-time job with an in-home health risk assessment company. On top of that? She’s an adjunct faculty member on the University’s Worcester, MA, campus, a role that allows her to empower the next generation of FNPs.

We sat down with Iorio to hear more about her experience in the online program, her experiencing transitioning from an RN to an FNP, and her advice for nurses considering an MSN.

What inspired you to enter the Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program?

I had a negative health experience that led me to see my nurse practitioner / primary care provider. After I was diagnosed, my NP was extremely compassionate and caring. She followed up with me in the next couple of days to see how I was feeling, and this was one of the events that inspired me to pursue a career as an NP.

Why did you choose to earn your degree through MCPHS?

I was excited that they offered an MSN FNP program online, which provided more flexibility with learning and my lifestyle. Many of the other MSN FNP programs in Massachusetts were solely in-person type programs and the costs were much greater.

What’s your advice for someone considering earning an MSN online?

My advice is to be 100 percent committed to the program and be organized. I feel earning a degree online provides a person with much more flexibility, especially for those who are still employed or have families.

What about focusing on organization?

Organization is key, and staying ahead of assignments. I am known as a planner – I love to plan and have assignments written out ahead of time. The amount of effort the student puts into the program is going to be reflected in their knowledge and academic performance. Another tip for success is engaging in the school you’re attending – activities, events, etc.

What was your favorite course you took during your program?

Advanced Health Assessment. The professor for this course was phenomenal, and I loved learning the material during the course. I learned how to complete histories and physicals, the different techniques for conducting physical exams, advanced anatomy of the body systems – a great course!

Tell us about your favorite professor.

Professor Murray is an excellent teacher and mentor. During my last semester of FNP school, Professor Murray encouraged me to assist in teaching in the lab setting for the postbaccalaureate nursing students – a decision for which I am incredibly grateful. It was because of her encouragement and persistence that I ventured into a new chapter of nursing: teaching. Thank you, Professor Murray!

Where do you currently work?

Currently, I am employed full time with CVS Minute Clinic and part time with an in-home health risk assessment company, Advance Health. I also am a per diem adjunct faculty member teaching postbaccalaureate students in the lab setting at MCPHS in Worcester, MA.

What has the transition from RN to NP been like?

The transition from RN to NP has been challenging but rewarding. I came on at an extremely busy time (flu season!) with the Minute Clinic, so my days are extremely busy. I average more than 20 patients per day, which is especially high volume considering that I am also admitting the patients, checking them in (insurance), checking their vital signs, taking their history and doing physical exams, diagnosing, and checking them out. Despite the craziness, I am enjoying the experience!

Tell us about the in-home health risk assessments you undertake.

They provide a pleasant break from the hectic nature of the Minute Clinic. In this position, I am not diagnosing or prescribing. I go into members’ homes, conduct a thorough past medical history intake, review medications, perform a noninvasive physical exam, and provide recommendations. The purpose of this assessment is to reduce healthcare costs and determine whether a member needs to be seen by their primary care provider rather than going to the emergency room. I thoroughly enjoy performing the in-home health risk assessments as well.

What’s a typical day like as an FNP?

At the CVS Minute Clinic, a typical day involves assessing patients for sick visits, giving several vaccinations, and performing some sports physicals for high school or college students. I check the patient in (just like a secretary would), perform a history intake and physical exam, determine the best diagnosis for the patient, and then review the discharge plan and instructions. If I see a patient who presents with a higher acuity than what retail health can provide, I refer out – either to urgent care centers or the emergency room! Much of my time as an FNP is also spent educating patients. Sometimes the patient just needs some reassurance that everything will be OK.

What most excites you about your job every day?

I’m excited by simply knowing that I am helping so many in such a short period of time. As I mentioned, I’m averaging 20-plus patients per shift, so over the course of the week I am able to help so many different individuals – which is incredibly gratifying.

How has your MSN FNP helped you grow in your nursing career?

Attaining my MSN at MCPHS has greatly increased my knowledge base. I’m able to diagnose medical conditions and prescribe medications, increasing my autonomy and confidence. I am now the one giving the “orders,” as opposed to being the RN who takes the orders.

Why do you recommend an MCPHS education?

I would recommend MCPHS because it offers a highly respected, well-rounded program and provides an excellent education at a reasonable price. Earning a degree from MCPHS will help students postgraduation in terms of salary and job opportunities.

The Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program at MCPHS builds on your bachelor’s degree in nursing to empower you to advance your career with a specialty in family nursing practice. This 24-month part-time program is offered online or on campus.