Meet Dr. Matthew Kaspar, who has earned many titles to his name: RN, DNP, MED, MSN, APN and FNP-C. His students know him as senior lecturer and coordinator of Rowan Global’s nurse practitioner programs. His patients know him for his homebound geriatric healthcare practice, which he has run with a physician partner since 2011. Learn more about Dr. Kaspar and how he manages his teaching and nursing positions.
How long have you worked at Rowan?
I started in 2014.
What do you teach in the nursing program?
I teach the nurse practitioner courses: epidemiology, role of the nurse practitioner and the concentration courses. I generally teach four courses, but I’m a nurse practitioner, I have to practice so many hours per year in order to keep my certification and license, so I get credit for my practice. I get credits also for coordinating the three nurse practitioner programs as well.
What is your role as nurse practitioner coordinator?
I arrange student placements [for clinical practice], contracts, background checks, fingerprinting. I vet their preceptors to make sure that they don’t have any marks against their licenses and coordinate affiliation agreements with the clinical sites.
Is it safe to say nursing at Rowan is a rapidly growing program?
Yes. When we started, we had two master’s concentrations: gerontology acute care nurse practitioner track and family nurse practitioner track. Now we have, in addition to those two, primary mental health nurse practitioner — so now there are three tracks for nurse practitioner — and nurse educator. We’ve grown a lot, and we’ve got a lot still in the pipeline.
Can you tell us about your students?
Our typical students are seasoned. They already have their bachelor’s degrees in nursing. They’ve been practicing nurses for about three years. They generally work full-time, so the benefit of our program is that it’s predominantly all online, and it allows students to have that family work-life balance where they can work full-time as a registered nurse and then attend classes when it’s convenient for them since most of the classes are online … they can take them when they want to.
We have students throughout the entire state. We have two or three students who are in North Jersey. They’re all over the place. It’s a real plus for them because they don’t have to spend the hour, two hours driving to campus, they can really just attend class when it’s more convenient for them.
Can you tell us more about your homebound practice?
I’ve been doing house calls since 2011. A physician and I started the practice. We generally see older patients, people who can’t get out of the house, we provide primary care services for them. We specialize in bringing services to their house, such as EKGs, labs, ultrasounds, X-rays, so we can do a lot of those primary care-type services for those patients who can’t get out. Somebody’s homebound status could be due to a physical, mental or respiratory disability. My patients generally range from 50s to, my oldest is 104. The practice has grown quite a bit.
What areas does your practice serve?
Our practice covers Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, parts of Atlantic and possibly parts of Salem and Mercer counties.
How many patients do you have, on average?
I manage about 300 patients.
Is this you and a team of nurses? Or just you individually?
We manage our own patients regardless of if you’re a physician or a nurse practitioner provider. Just like if you go to your primary care provider, and that’s who you generally see. We do the same thing for our homebound patients. We assign them a provider and you follow that provider. We have our own caseloads. Most providers have a MA, or medical assistant, that goes with them, to help with charting and call box and patient care. I’m the only provider in the practice who doesn’t have one. I generally take students with me from our program … and serve as their preceptor.
Do Rowan students need that clinical practice as part of their program completion?
Yes, they’re required to get 600 clinical hours of direct patient time. Their clinical experience has to be done in the advanced practice role, working under either a physician or another nurse practitioner. I don’t know everything, so I like [students] to get exposure from other providers so their teaching instruction is not just done by one person.
I love taking students because not only does it allow me to give back to the community, and give back to nursing, it keeps me sharp, too, because you get some really good questions sometimes. It’s a great way to keep up with evidence-based nursing.
What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline?
Nurses are lifelong learners. I always use the expression that the day you stop learning something is the day you retire. Nursing is constantly evolving and changing, and that’s our only constant is that [things] change so frequently.
What inspires you to continue teaching?
My first career, I was a middle school science teacher, my first career choice was nursing. I didn’t have the grades to get into nursing, unfortunately. So I taught middle school science for a few years, went back and got my master’s in education, and I kind of focused more on academics, and once I figured out I could do it, I decided to go back to nursing. And after I graduated nursing, it was part of the calling. Nursing does a lot in education in terms of clinical practice. I always wanted to get back into education. And now it’s perfect for me because now I’ve got clinical and I also teach, and I love that marrying of the two disciplines together.
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