I earned my MSN at XXXX University in 2003 and I hope to now return to also earn my DNP Degree along with a Post-Master's Certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner. This will round out my education to the top level, the cutting-edge of nursing science and provide me with the maximum opportunity to prepare myself for additional levels of responsibility and opportunity as a health care professional here in Arkansas, where I have developed a lifetime research base and focus on issues in rural health and the nursing contribution to health care. In particular, I see my role as that of improving the access and quality of medical care for patients who suffer from mental illness and addictions in rural Arkansas. Like much of rural America, rural Arkansas has seen alarming rises in certain types of drug abuse and dependents, most notably opioids, at the same time that cuts are being made to Medicaid which serves as a lifeline for many thousands of addicts. In this kind of context, special opportunities emerge for creative, enterprising and hard-working DNPs to step in and save lives, serving alongside and in support of overworked and overstretched psychiatrists.
I completed the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program at XXXX in 2005 and received the finest education possible in integrating psychiatric care into the primary care setting. Now that I have 12 years of experience under my belt, it is time for me to earn the DNP to maximize my contribution and realize my lifelong goal of at some point mentoring young dual-certified nurse practitioners on how to co-treat patients with mental illness, addictions and medical problems. My ideal job or position would be the director of nursing in a medical center in Arkansas that provides excellent co-treatment to these patients.
Life has thrown many difficult tests and hurdles my way; nevertheless, I see them as the spice of life, embracing challenges with zest; my curiosity, drive, and determination increase incrementally each day that I serve. It is my people who sustain me, day after day, serving in the same rural, underserved area of Arkansas. I am a hillbilly myself, have spent almost my entire life in this area, and I doubt that will never change. I have now enjoyed enormously more than a decade of service as an APNP providing psychiatric care to patients who suffer from chronic mental illness and/or addictions. This population of patients remain dear to my heart. I appreciate the broad diversity of people afflicted by mental illness and addictions and the equally broad diversity of manifestations and personal challenges faced by my patients. I accompany them on their journey and try to steer them towards life and recovery and often we have success, which makes it all worthwhile. This is not always the case, however, and suicide rates are spiking in Arkansas, drug overdoses complimenting already high levels of gun violence. Each year in America we lose as many Americans to opioid overdose alone as we lost in Vietnam. It is almost like we are under attack. I want to serve on the front lines and bring the death rates down. I have developed a strong, therapeutic rapport and my patients understand that I am committed to walking the journey with them and doing everything that I can to help them to heal.
Patients suffering from mental illness and/or addictions usually have many co-morbid health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately, the co-morbid health problems often go untreated. Several years ago, my current employer opened a 24-bed acute psychiatric unit for adult patients. The medical providers have been unwilling to provide the initial history and physicals. This has resulted in requiring all mental health patients to be re-evaluated in the emergency room for medical clearance, representing a huge barrier to care. I need the DNP for a variety of reasons, in particular, however, to be able to most effectively treat these co-morbid conditions. This is what has kindled my passion and desire for further education and knowledge. Obtaining a DNP will help me develop the knowledge and skills needed to make an impact on the organization as a whole and hopefully serve as an agent of progressive change that improves the access and quality of care for patients with mental illness and/or addictions. Obtaining the Post-Master’s Certificate as an FNP will also increase the scope of my ability to practice, allowing me to treat both the medical and psychiatric conditions of my patients most effectively.
It is my hope that I will be accepted back to XXXX to complete my education at the doctoral level and I thank you for considering my application.