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Career Story: Nurse Practitioner At A University Health Service

Nurse Practitioner At A University Health Service

Job Title: Nurse Practitioner

Type of Company: A university health service.

Education: BS, Nursing, University of Rhode Island •• MS, Nursing, Simmons College

Previous Experience: I worked as staff nurse in a medical unit in Boston after college and then went to school to become a nurse practitioner. I have worked in primary care and college health for the past 15 years.

Job Tasks: I provide health care to college students at a university health service. My responsibilities include initial evaluation of students who come in due to illness, accidents or injury. I obtain a patient history and then perform a physical examination. After collecting the subjective and objective data I make an assessment and treatment plan. I prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests and make referrals to specialty medical providers. A large part of my job is educating students about their health and providing counseling.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I really enjoy working with the student population. There are many opportunities to teach the students about self-management and taking care of their health. For many of the students I work with it is their first time accessing health care as adults, independent of their parents.

One of the hard parts is that often parents want to be more involved in their adult children's care than the children-slash-students really want them to be. This can result in conflict and the parents are seldom real happy to hear that, although they're supporting their children financially, they don't have any right to see their medical records.

Job Tips: I would suggest working as a nursing assistant while pursuing your undergraduate degree. It is tough to work while in school but having the extra clinical exposure helped me find a job when I graduated. I also learned so much from my experiences as a nursing assistant. Try to get a job in a teaching hospital; there is so much to learn and this type of environment provides so many learning opportunities. I also did an internship my senior year of college which was great because it was like working full-time in nursing.

Additional Thoughts: I think nursing in general is a great career. There are so many different opportunities and paths you can take where you can use your nursing background. This type of career offers a lot of flexibility. There are opportunities to make a good salary and work either full or part-time.

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