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Career Story: Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Job Title: Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Type of Company: A hospital in Portland, Oregon that serves the local community and the poor and vulnerable.

Education: BA, Psychology, Lewis & Clark College •• RN, Regis College •• MA, Nursing, Regis College

Previous Experience: I worked as a nurse practitioner in urgent care and then went on to run a total joint program at the hospital. I am currently running an orthopedic fracture program.

Job Tasks: My job is the creation and maintenance of an orthopedic trauma program at the hospital. I actually started this program three years ago, so it is up and running at this point. But I am continually looking at new ways to serve our community and help our patients in a better way. Most patients who come in with a broken hip are quite old and frail and have other complications. Our job is to coordinate their care with the other medical specialists who'll have to be involved and get them into surgery as soon as possible, typically within eighteen hours. We also have a lot of out-patient surgeries: typically wrist, ankle and arm fractures. We get them ready for surgery as well and make sure they understand what will happen and what their options are.

I also work with other surgeons in the city to see what support they need and what our program can do to assist them in taking care of patients. There are a lot of hospitals and surgeons struggling right now because of the economy, and this program brings resources together and is designed to support different specialties as they collaborate in the promotion of enhanced patient care.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with patients and knowing we are giving them tremendous care, creating a program that is nationally known for its organization and outstanding cooperation.

The worst? Patients who aren't appreciative and take us for granted.

Job Tips: Get a degree whose scope is broad: a family NP rather than a pediatric specialist, for example. You never know how your interests may change over time.

Take advantage of every opportunity that's presented to you. There are a lot of people out there who are interested in teaching students, so keep asking for more experience.

Be a good communicator, and be responsible and trustworthy.

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