Graduate Spotlight: Dori Celi

- Author: Maggie Morris - Categories:

Dori Celi enjoyed the company she worked for, but she knew that there was limited opportunity for advancement. She knew that to develop the meaningful career she wanted where she could support her community in becoming healthier, it was time to pursue a master’s degree. For Dori, the decision to pursue her MSN-FNP online at USC was simple. She was confident that she could get the best possible education from the distinguished faculty who drive the program.

Dori earned her Master of Science in Nursing in December 2023 and passed her ANCC board exam on her first attempt. Below, she shares her experience in the MSN-FNP program, how she balanced her obligations professionally and personally, and her advice for those considering pursuing their MSN-FNP online at USC.

Tell us about yourself: your family, friends, interests/hobbies, and professional experience. 

I was born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. My father was the first in his family to attend college and attended USC, obtaining his degree in dentistry. Growing up, I saw the fellowship that was fostered with his previous classmates and his fondness for USC affiliations. We would watch football games on TV and I remember the pride he had when the Olympics were at the Colosseum. I spent my youth working as an assistant in his dental office. When I was older and decided to change my career, I reflected on this experience and decided to try my hand at nursing. 

What was your motivation for pursuing your MSN-FNP degree?

I had been working with a company I enjoyed working at for many years but felt that there wasn’t much more room for advancement. I thought about my options and realized that the only real way I would be able to advance my career would be to pursue a master’s degree. I reflected on my father’s dental practice and how he would build professional relationships with his patients. Becoming a FNP in primary care would allow me to develop a meaningful career where I can help my community become healthier by working with individuals.

Why did you choose USC?

Attending USC helped me to continue a family legacy of tradition striving for excellence. I knew that graduating from USC would open a world of opportunities and experiences. USC attracts high-quality educators so I knew I would get the best possible education compared to other online programs and prepare me to be an outstanding FNP. 

What was the deciding factor in pursuing an online degree?

Since this is my second career I still needed to work and an online program was really my only option. There were so many online options but none of them had the credibility that USC offered. 

How did you manage your time, balancing coursework and clinicals with professional and personal obligations?

The USC MSN-FNP program layout makes it manageable to schedule a well-balanced life. I spent 2-3 days working,  2-3 days in class and studying, and one day for myself and my family. There are 2 weekends during the program set aside for On-campus Intensives. Semesters with clinical rotations were more difficult to schedule but still manageable. I did have to use a calendar app to keep everything straight. My family was well aware of my schedule and obligations. Their cooperation and support were the key to my success.

How would you describe your experience pursuing your MSN-FNP at USC?

Pursuing my MSN-FNP was probably the most important thing that I have ever done so far in my life. Completing this extraordinary experience at USC added a level of pride and accomplishment that I don’t think I could have experienced at another program. I am stronger as a person and professional because of the rigor and intensity of the program. My professors challenged me to produce high-quality work, strive for future success by continuing our education post-master’s, and stay professionally engaged by joining professional organizations. Additionally, the professors at USC break the mold of the RN nursing school experience in that they genuinely want and work with their students to not just pass the program but to succeed professionally as well. 

Tell us about your experience with On-campus Intensives.

On-campus intensives were probably my favorite part of the program. It’s where we learned the practical aspects of being a primary care provider. We learned how to suture, incision and drainage, pap smears, read EKG, and X-rays. We also had opportunities to test out our assessment skills. I enjoyed seeing my classmates and professors in person which facilitated stronger connections that I feel may last a lifetime.

What has been your biggest personal or professional success since completing your degree?

I have only just graduated. I spent 2 months studying for the boards (ANCC) and passed on the first try. USC prepared me well to succeed in this accomplishment. Speaking with graduates from other programs I feel that USC was the right choice for me and set me up for success in passing the boards and for my future career

What advice do you have for prospective students making the decision to pursue their MSN-FNP?

I researched several programs before I selected USC, but none could offer the fellowship that comes with being part of the USC family, which can make connections that are powerful [in supporting] my career goals. 

[I chose] to prioritize FNP over AGNP. Many employers prefer that the NP can see all ages instead of 13 years old and greater. Also, there are more potential opportunities for an FNP in expanding their scope such as going into emergency room medicine or urgent care settings. 

USC assists its students by facilitating clinical placement, as opposed to other online programs that do not. All my preceptors were of superb quality that I would have been unlikely to have found on my own. 

Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program.

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