Improving Systems, Changing Lives

Julia Martin

ABSN to DNP Track

Julia MartinKitty Hawk, located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is known to many tourists as a great spot for a carefree beach getaway. Julia Martin gained a different perspective of the town while growing up there, par­ticularly when it comes to accessing health care.

“Eastern North Carolina is ex­tremely vulnerable,” Martin says. “There’s a disparity out there. And although the Outer Banks is a more affluent community, it’s still a health care desert. We go to Virginia for health care. And that’s really what drove me to want to make a differ­ence for people like my family and my community.”

Martin felt the best way to have an impact on health care was through nursing. After earning a hu­man biology degree from N.C. State University, she enrolled in the ABSN degree program at Duke, where she quickly realized an advanced practice nursing degree would better allow her to improve systems of care and change lives. That’s why she chose the school’s BSN to DNP track, which allows students to earn three degrees—ABSN, MSN, and DNP degrees—in succession. Martin has already completed her ABSN and MSN degrees and is now working to complete her DNP degree.

Through her DNP project, Martin aims to help reduce substance abuse in adolescents. She is working to implement a digital tool that will be used to screen adolescents for substance abuse. A standardized screening tool already exists, but providers have to administer it face to face. Martin hopes this new self-administered, digital tool will be both more efficient and effective at identifying adolescents in need.

“The face-to-face screening really doesn’t show the truest responses,” Martin says. “I think if adolescents feel more comfortable and are able to disclose substance use, we can better get them into harm-reduc­tion/risk-reduction treatment. Or if they aren’t at risk and maybe just have questions, it provides opportu­nities for education.”

In addition to pursuing her studies full time at the School of Nursing, Martin has also managed to work in nursing jobs throughout her time at Duke, gaining tangible, real-world experience.

She first worked as a registered nurse in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at Duke and later at UNC Health Care in an ambulatory float pool. Most recently, she accepted her first nurse practitioner position at UNC, providing primary and urgent care services for patients at the Jason Ray Transplant Clinic. It’s a newly created position, and she is confi­dent her DNP degree will make her a better provider.

“I will be better equipped for my clinic to oversee and run the quality improvement projects we’ll want to do as an interdisciplinary team,” she says.

August 23, 2018