About Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP: Christine Kloby is a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner who currently works as part of the Infectious Disease team at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Before joining Johns Hopkins, she worked as a Registered Nurse for over eight years, practicing at the Anne Arundel Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harrison Medical Center.
Ms. Kloby holds an Associate of Science in Registered Nursing from Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Olympic College in Washington. In 2016, she earned her Master of Science in Nursing through Drexel University’s online MSN program, specializing as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] May we please have a brief description of your educational and professional background in nursing?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] I earned my master of science in nursing degree from Drexel University in 2016. I am board-certified as a family nurse practitioner, and joined Johns Hopkins Bayview’s Infectious Disease team in September 2016. There, I attend to patients in the OPAT clinic, ID clinic, research studies, and in various skilled nursing facilities.
Prior to this, I worked as a registered nurse at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland from 2011 to 2016 in both the emergency department and flex unit. In 2011, I worked as a registered nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts in the interventional radiology unit. Before that, from 2008 to 2011, I was a bedside registered nurse at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Washington on their step-down unit, 2SE.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] What motivated you to pursue your MSN online? What advantages did you see to online education? Did Drexel’s online program meet these expectations?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] I was motivated to pursue my MSN online because I wanted to be able to attend a respectable university and be able to maintain my current life. I enjoyed my nursing position and did not want my schooling to interfere. Online classes allowed me to participate in group discussions and complete coursework on my free time.
There were many advantages to online education. I participated in classes from the comfort of my own home. I could sit at my desk in sweats with a glass of wine or not have to worry about finding a sitter for my kids during scheduled class times. The classes were recorded; therefore, if I missed an explanation or needed to listen to the class again, it was only a click away. Drexel’s online program exceeded my expectations. The professors were only an email or phone call away. My classmates were easily available through social media group pages, email, or telephone when there were group projects, discussions, or just needing to vent.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] How did Drexel University’s online platform enable you to interact with faculty members and classmates? Were courses asynchronous, synchronous, or a combination of both? How often did you interact with faculty, and did you feel that your instructors were accessible to online students?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] Drexel’s online platform allowed me to interact with the faculty and classmates easily. We used Blackboard, which made interacting with faculty and classmates a breeze. You could log into Blackboard either on a desktop through the school’s website or on your smartphone/tablet. There were many times where I was driving back from a clinical site and participating in the class discussions via the blackboard app on my phone. The courses were synchronous. I interacted with the faculty during class sessions and as I felt the need to. Faculty members were easily accessible to the students through email or phone.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] Drexel’s online MSN program requires students to make a limited number of visits to the campus for labs and on-campus intensives. What activities and events were included in these on-campus sessions?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] The on-campus visits were a great addition. We were able to meet the faulty members and other classmates in person. During these visits, we learned skills such as abscess drainage, suturing, and IUD placements. They had live actors that simulated patients that we would see as practicing nurse practitioners. These actors were incredibly comfortable with their bodies and using them as a teaching tool. This is where I performed my first vaginal and rectal exam and learned what to look for on these exams. It was a really rewarding experience. There were also classroom sessions along with the labs. I felt these on-campus sessions enhanced the program immensely.
When researching potential MSN programs, the requirement to visit the campus was actually a con for me. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced to have to travel out of state, rent a hotel room, and pay additional expenses. However, after experiencing this, I would do it over again. It was a good opportunity to get to know my classmates and faculty, have an excellent hands-on learning experience, and see a beautiful city.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] What were the major pros and cons of pursuing your graduate nursing degree online? What challenges did you encounter throughout your completion of the online program, and how did you address them? On the flip side, what did you enjoy most about completing your MSN degree online?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] The only con from the online MSN program was that I could not do my clinicals in Maryland. This was not due to the university, rather it was the Maryland Board of Nursing’s fault. The pros are aforementioned. The main challenge was trying to find a clinical site. It was a full-time job to find a clinical site, on top of my part-time job as a nurse and the part-time school work. It was really overwhelming and because I couldn’t do my clinicals in my home state, I had to search outside my network. I felt like I was harassing clinics and practices begging them to precept me. The downside to this is you take what you can get, even if your experience is not helpful.
On the flip side, I enjoyed the freedom of participating in the online discussions at my convenience, turning in papers by 11:59pm, and being able to re-listen to classes that I already participated in just in case I missed anything. Plus, taking exams was a breeze from my own home with ProctorU.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] Clinical practicums are a major component of graduate nursing education. Can you briefly describe how Drexel University handles clinical placements for online students? Can you elaborate on your experiences in your clinical practicum rotations and what were some key takeaways from your rotations that you feel helped you successfully make the transition from being a registered nurse to being a health care provider?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] Drexel University expects you to find your clinical sites independently. Online students have to find their own clinical sites, obtain the required information (licenses, diplomas, etc.), and submit it all for approval. Some key takeaways from my rotations that I feel helped me successfully make the transition from being a registered nurse to being a health care provider are as follows. Once the preceptors became comfortable with my capabilities, they allowed me to see the patient, create my differential diagnoses, diagnostic plans, and treatment/management plans on my own. I presented them to the preceptor and they acknowledged my thought processes, gave feedback, then we visited the patient together to discuss the actual plan; whether the plan was the same as I created, or their version. I learn well hands on and this was an excellent way for me to become comfortable as a provider and to become confident in my decision making as a nurse practitioner.
My advice for students completing clinic practicums is to try to align your clinical sites up as soon as you can—even if it’s a year out. If you have the opportunity to have more than one clinical site or preceptor for each rotation, take it; this will allow you to learn the tricks of the trade from different providers and to visualize/establish a workflow process (or combination of processes) that works well for you. This is your clinical experience and you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it. If you’re able to precept with a nurse practitioner, due so. Pick the nurse practitioner’s brain regarding starter guides/applications, organizations/memberships, and other resources.
When you get out of school, it will take you several months to feel comfortable practicing as a nurse practitioner; the practice is very different from bedside nursing. Learning the logistics of billing, insurances, and referrals would be helpful ahead of time; the same goes for which licenses you need and how to apply for them. When you graduate, look for your first nurse practitioner position within a practice willing to mentor you and give you resources to grow.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] What advice would you give students just starting Drexel’s online MSN program? More broadly, what advice would you give students who are just starting or considering an online MSN program, whether it be at Drexel or another institution?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] Advice that I would give regarding starting or considering an online MSN program like Drexel’s is to make sure you’re able to commit the time to independent studying, researching, and writing papers. Also, when it is time for clinicals, ensure that you can make that your priority over your current job. This might mean that you will need to prepare financially or ensure you take a student loan. I suggest having a strong support system, as well. I had a child in the middle of my nurse practitioner program. It was difficult, but very doable because I had a strong support system.
[OnlineFNPPrograms.com] What type of support services does Drexel offer online students? Did the school offer career services, and if so, did you use them and find them helpful?
[Christine Kloby, MSN, CRNP] Drexel offered online support services. The one that stands out the most is an academic advisor that was fabulous! She signed us up for the classes we chose, kept us informed of deadlines, and guided us throughout the program with regards to logistics of maneuvering the online learning environment. If she didn’t have an answer for us, she put us in touch with the person who did. Drexel offered career services, but I didn’t use them.
Thank you, Ms. Kloby, for participating in our alumni interview series, and sharing your experience as an online FNP student!