Published August 1, 2022
Khloe Barlow is a 2021 graduate of UB’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which culminates in a final project that provides the opportunity for students to integrate newly learned skills into practice and to demonstrate how to apply principles of nursing practice scholarship.
Barlow, who has an enduring commitment to the field of women’s health, examined the barriers to breast and cervical cancer screening for African American women through the nurse practitioner’s perspective.
In spring 2020, Barlow identified her area of research interest and refined it in collaboration with her advisors. That summer she conducted a systematic literature review. In the fall and winter of 2020, she conducted interviews. In spring 2021, she wrote and revised her study, and then graduated in May.
Barlow says that completing the project within this tight timeframe felt daunting – but she learned a few tips along the way that helped her to succeed.
Barlow’s DNP project timeline coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected her writing and research process. She was not able to execute her DNP project in the manner she had anticipated — Barlow had imagined herself posting flyers and conducting interviews in person, offering donuts and coffee to set the stage for a rich and personable conversation. Also, she had been accustomed to writing in the library on campus, an environment conducive to focused work. In the reality of the pandemic, she forged ahead with her work in a way the COVID-19 environment permitted – conducting interviews on Zoom and writing at her dining room table.
One of the most significant assets of Barlow’s project journey was that her roommate was also in the DNP program and in a parallel stage in her process. Her roommate’s project, while on a different topic, had a similar structure. Therefore, they were able to organically talk out the dilemmas and obstacles they encountered.
“She understood, because she was going through the exact same thing,” Barlow notes. They were also able to serve as excellent readers for each other’s work. “When you read your own writing over and over again, it just kind of blurs together. You don’t really know what makes sense anymore.”
While her writing process went relatively smoothly, Barlow encountered the natural challenge of moving from writing in a conversational style to shifting toward a more professional, academic register. That process involves tinkering with wording and style, and she found Grammarly an effective tool for helping her with adjustments. She also monitored her writing to make sure that it remained grounded in evidence, continually looping back to her references and literature during the writing process.
In addition to remaining organized and following a strict schedule, Barlow remained mindful of the quality of her downtime. She enjoyed activities that gave her mind rest, like reading or watching movies and spending time with family.
When asked what advice she might have for current DNP students, Barlow offers, “Sometimes when you’re in the thick of things, it can be really overwhelming, and you may question why you took this step … but you just have to remind yourself that it’s worth it in the end. Just one day at a time.”
Since graduating, Barlow has relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where she is working as a board-certified nurse practitioner in a high-risk maternal fetal medicine practice.
This article originally appeared in the UB Graduate School “Write Through” series.