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Freedom to explore varied pathways in doctorate program helped ASU nursing alumna grow in confidence

Get to know Dawn Augusta, a DNP graduate from 2021 and one of more than 17,000 Edson College alumni worldwide


Dawn Augusta smiles at the camera. She is wearing her Doctorate Graduation Regalia complete with black hat, gold tassel and black gown with maroon trimming.

Dawn Augusta says the Innovation Leadership DNP program increased her confidence and opened doors to collaborate with new organizations to create meaningful change in health care.

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September 01, 2022

Throughout her career, Dawn Augusta has impacted health care in many ways. First, as a bedside nurse delivering care for 15 years. Then, as an educator teaching at Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and now as an innovation leader. 

Helping her take that next step was the college’s advanced nursing practice (innovation leadership) DNP program. Augusta graduated in 2021. 

“I started my own consulting business post-graduation that focuses on public/private health and human service system improvements, and I continue to teach at Edson College,” she says. 

In addition, Augusta’s also serving on multiple boards and commissions, both byproducts of her time in the DNP program, which encouraged networking and building relationships with fellow community leaders.

Augusta admits she was a little hesitant when she first enrolled in the program, not knowing where it would take her or what it would mean for her career. Those thoughts were quickly put to rest, though. She found her desire for impacting systems on a greater scale was in perfect alignment with the outcomes and experiences of the program. 

“If you feel frustrated with the status quo and wonder why redundant systems keep expecting new results, and you want to help elevate systems and impact the health service revolving door phenomenon, this is the learning experience for you,” she says. 

Below, Augusta shares more about how the DNP program increased her confidence and opened doors to collaborate with new organizations to create meaningful change in health care. 

Question: How did your degree program help you in achieving and maintaining the position you have now?  

Answer: I now have the confidence and competence to design data-informed innovations. I have coupled the DNP degree with national board certification in nurse coaching and I plan to develop Higher Ground Health Coaching teams. 

Q: What is a favorite memory from your time in your program? 

A: I enjoyed the freedom to explore my own areas of interest. This included exploring housing and urban design that informed a more holistic and upstream perspective of health and well-being. I sought out practicum experiences with diverse entities, such as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, addressing homelessness on public lands. Additionally, my practicum experience included working with a new value-based health system, Iora Health, exploring their use of health coaches to achieve better health outcomes. 

Q: What advice would you give to students currently enrolled in the program? 

A: Explore rabbit trails. Put yourself in proximity to that which you are curious about. Push, gently and creatively, and push yourself into trying on new roles. Pull up a seat at tables that perhaps nurses are not usually part of. Be a pioneer. 

Q: What were some unique challenges you had to overcome while pursuing this degree?  

A: The uncertainty surrounding what this degree will do for me professionally initially felt like a risk. However, this feeling quickly transformed into a powerful knowing. On the first day of orientation, I knew this was the right choice. The freedom to explore and be creatively expansive allowed me to grow into this confident, competent, highly valuable, innovation leader.

To learn more about Edson College alumni activities, events and programming, visit the alumni section of the college's website.

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