July 28, 2020

MS in Professional Writing course motivates out-of-department student, Jessica AuCoin, to publish “A COVID-19 Story” in American Nurse

“I had such a great experience taking this class. The way it was designed and set up kept me engaged and excited the entire semester. I feel that not only have my writing skills improved from this class but I have found a love for writing that I never knew I had. I don't think I would have published this piece had I not had such a great experience with this class. It has encouraged me to continue writing and I hope to publish more that shows my perspective in the future.” --Jessica AuCoin

As an out-of-department Nursing Administration graduate student and Nurse, Jessica AuCoin enrolled  in the MS in Professional Writing (MSPW) course Principles of Professional Writing in the Fall 2019 semester. Seeking to improve her writing overall, Jessica gained both confidence and enthusiasm for writing. With this new found confidence, Jessica was able to articulate her experiences working as a nurse with COVID-19 patients this past spring. Encouraged by adjunct instructor Katherine Newhouse, PhD, Jessica Aucoin’s article, “A COVID-19 story,” was recently published in the periodical American Nurse. We asked Jessica a few questions about her experiences as an out-of-department student taking an online MS in Professional Writing course.

Q: What stood out to you from the Principles of Professional Writing course last Fall?

A: It was refreshing and thought provoking to discuss such a diversity of topics in the Principles of Professional Writing course. I have always found the writing process intimidating. Early on in this class we discussed first drafts which has really helped my fear and anxiety of the process-- it helped me get my writing started. We also discussed vulnerability which was something I had never connected to writing before. The idea of vulnerability was really important in writing this article.

Q: Why did you decide to publish this article?

A: I originally wrote this article as part of a paper for one of my classes last semester. A few weeks after submitting it, my professor approached me about the impact it left on her and she recommended I publish it. I decided to publish it because the perspective of the story is different from many of the discouraging COVID-19 stories out there. I felt it was important to share this heartfelt and nurturing point of view.

Q: Would you recommend taking an MS in Professional Writing course to your classmates?

A: I would (and have) recommended taking an MSPW course to my classmates. Writing is such an important professional skill to have, and as nurses we don't often get the opportunity to improve that skill. I would recommend that any graduate student look for the opportunity to focus solely on their writing skills, even for just one course.


Each semester, the MSPW welcomes a handful of out-of-department students seeking to improve their writing for career advancement in their chosen field or to explore a passion project. To learn more about the MS in Professional Writing program visit sps.nyu.edu/mspw or email us at sps.mspw@nyu.edu.

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