I have ten years of clinical nursing experience; eight of those years have been as a family nurse practitioner (FNP). As an FNP, I have had experience in internal medicine and pediatrics, urgent care, gastroenterology (inpatient and outpatient), and obstetrics and gynecology. Most of this care has been in underserved populations, including urban poor and rural care. By working in so many diverse settings, I developed a keen interest in studying a wholistic approach to modern medical practice, that incorporates the various and competing constraints, practicalities, and multi-functional facets of healthcare. Nowhere is that study more important than in finding solutions to health inequity.
During my doctorate, Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing was awarded a Health Resources and Services Administration grant to support a new primary care clinic aimed at increasing access for a low-income, at-risk community. Although the establishment of this clinic represented progress in meeting many healthcare needs of the target population, the interprofessional team identified a need for the initiation of a new home-based service line. To support that goal, I developed a medical home visit program to serve the homebound, frail, and other at-risk adults with complex medical conditions who reside in this community. As the needs-assessment completed prior to the initiation of the program indicated that this population would not derive maximum benefit from a traditional house calls program, the program had an expanded scope and provided enhanced care coordination, house visits (medical and non-medical), and community outreach. This has informed my deep belief that the solutions for our healthcare system will be similarly broad. By preparing students who come from varied experiences, we may find solutions that have not been previously considered.