Alumni Spotlight: Emily DNP, “Aspen has laid a strong foundation for my career.”

Emily Higgins, dnp

Emily Higgins graduated in December 2023 with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Emily has dedicated her career to advancing education within the nursing profession. She was inspired by her students to pursue her Doctorate. That doctoral degree has allowed Emily to advance nursing education even further. Keep reading to hear about Emily’s accomplishments.


Beginning my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) journey at Aspen University was a pivotal moment in my career. For many years, I was a single mother raising two kids alone while juggling two jobs as a hospital-based educator and an adjunct clinical professor. My favorite part of these roles was watching students and new staff develop into competent new graduates and nurses. I enjoy seeing them grow confident in their abilities and develop their skills as they progress through their training. I was consistently reminded of the importance of education and in the nursing profession. Education is a powerful tool—it transforms lives, opens new doors to opportunities, and allows individuals to make a significant impact on our patients and communities. I had wanted to go back to school for quite some time before taking the plunge. I researched, as one does in pursuit of an advanced degree, the options for obtaining my DNP and Aspen stood out as flexible and affordable, especially while balancing my career. Their accredited online DNP Program allowed a working professional like me to complete my studies from anywhere. The option for affordable payment plans made pursuing my degree realistic without straining my budget.

One of the most significant impacts of my education was my DNP project. A local nursing school and my community hospital partnered in the design and implementation of a cooperative experience for the dedicated education model. The program is the first of its kind in New Hampshire, pairing students with hospital RNs throughout their three-year, accelerated BSN journey. The unique program allows for BSN students to work as per diem LNAs at the hospital in an earn-while-you-learn model while assisting in mitigating workforce challenges. This innovative approach allows students to gain valuable hands-on experience while continuing their education.  I am proud to share that the inaugural class will be entering their senior year this fall and will graduate in May of 2025.

 Since graduating, I have continued to leverage the insights and expertise gained during my time at Aspen. I recently have been promoted in my hospital system to the role of Academic-Practice Partner and Student Placement Coordinator, which is a mouthful of a title but might as well be with the alphabet soup I proudly write after my name. Aspen has laid a strong foundation for my career, and I continue to utilize the knowledge I gained through my studies on a daily basis as I face new challenges in my new role. I am grateful for the opportunities Aspen has provided and look forward to continuing my journey of growth and contribution to the nursing profession.



Emily’s story shows us that it’s never too late to start learning. Through a philosophy of life-long learning, we can continue to impact the lives of those around us. If you are ready to take the next step in your nursing journey, check out Aspen’s nursing degrees on the School of Nursing and Health Sciences webpage.

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