Heather Couch began her nursing career by earning her ADN from Arizona Western University in Yuma where she served as Vice President of the Student Nurses’ Association. While working on the medical/surgical renal oncology unit in Yuma, she developed an affinity for the migrant worker population. The experience fueled her interest for underserved populations. After that she achieved a BSN from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, and MSN, and DNP from The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. As a registered nurse, she worked as a nurse in a variety of specialties ranging from telemetry, and post-acute cardiovascular to gastroenterology. As a nurse practitioner, Heather Couch has practiced in both pain management and urgent care. Most recently, she functioned as a complex care manager at a medical care home in Santa Cruz, California, collaborating within an interdisciplinary team environment, managing underserved patients with multiple comorbidities, including mental health and substance abuse disorders.
While obtaining her MSN and DNP, she lived in Prescott, AZ where she completed her clinical practice rotations in a rural setting. The experience assisted in the completion of a Rural Health Professions Certificate. In part of her preparation to work with vulnerable populations, she participated in an Interprofessional Learning Service Experience, Building Healthy Communities: Alternatives to Migration through the College of Public Health, representing The University of Arizona College of Nursing, in both Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora.
In fulfillment for the criteria of the DNP degree, Couch combined her interest and expertise of asthma and technology to a first of its kind research project exploring provider perspectives of smartphone applications as a supportive strategy for adolescent asthma. The study modified the Technology Acceptance Model, TAM, validated statements and applied them to a survey to explore provider perspectives surrounding the use of smartphone applications as a supportive strategy for adolescent asthma management. Currently, adolescents represent the most undermanaged group with a diagnosis of asthma, with only half following their care plans. Results of the survey indicated providers view smartphone applications favorably and are willing to consider their use as a management tool for adolescent asthma.
Couch has been a member of AANP, CANP, and Beta Mu Sigma Theta Tau. As an undergraduate, she was granted an AzNA scholarship. To date, her interest includes: vulnerable populations, interdisciplinary collaborative team practice environments, healthcare research, technology, and asthma. Her long-term career goals include becoming an AANP fellow, and becoming a fluent Spanish speaker in order to better serve patients in the Southwest.
Live-stream is available for this event. Link will be active on the day of the presentation.