Tell me a little bit about yourself
I’m an enigma! A self-motivated, rebellious 36-year-old woman who’s been married for 15years, raising four kids (8m, 7y, 12y, and 13y), two dogs (Maltipoos) and running a mobile primary care company – Customized Care.
I graduated high school then completed my prerequisite courses at Palm Beach State University. From there I was accepted into Barry University’s accelerated BSN program. My husband and I married when I was 20 and a few months later became pregnant with our first child while enrolled in nursing school. She was born in May of 2003, right after graduation. My second pregnancy came 5 months post-graduation around the time I started my first job as a labor & delivery nurse. I stayed there for 7 years before transitioning into a new position as a caseworker for an HMO; I also had my 3rd child just prior to the job change. I was a caseworker for 4 years and discovered the issues that exists in elderly care. This motivated me to go back to school. I enrolled at FAU, taking one class per semester just to get my feet wet and make sure that (a) I wanted this and (b) that I could manage it. Since my husband travels a lot for work I was often alone with the kids, staying up until 2am-3am to complete school work. I did that for about 6months before deciding to leave my job and focus solely on my education. I completed South University’s ARNP program in 2015 and took my boards that December while working on my business plan. Customized Care launched August 1, 2016, and two months later I became pregnant with baby number 4. That surprise slowed things down for a while, but everything is back on track now.
Healthcare is where it’s at! And my experience working in healthcare management as a caseworker is definitely an asset that I bring to the table.
Explain your career to those who don’t understand/know what a Nurse Practitioner is?
I am a healthcare provider.
I’m a nurse with a Master’s degree and many years of experience. With my Master’s degree, I can order labs, imaging, provide care, etc.; anything that your doctor can do, I can do as well. The direction that Healthcare is heading, realizes that the burden is too heavy for physicians alone to provide primary care. NPs and PAs provide equal and sometimes better care because we listen. As a nurse, I’ve listened to patients share their entire life stories. But because I listened, I know more about the patient and how to approach them. I’m still a nurse at heart and always will be. But as an ARNP, I am able to do more than I could as an RN.
Occasionally I run into some patients who say, “I need to see a doctor.” My response is always straightforward – what is it that you need to see a doctor for? There isn’t anything that a doctor will do that I can’t, so either wait for an appointment to see them or see me right now. Patients just want to feel a level of comfort so I help them understand what is happening and assure them they are in good hands.
When did you decide to become a nurse and why?
At the age of 6, I knew I wanted to deliver babies and be an OB/GYN. But that changed in the 6th grade when a teacher assigned the infamous “What I want to be when I grow up” project. I researched different medical career options and came across nurse midwife, which I had never heard of before. I was intrigued by the opportunity for professional growth and where the profession was headed. Nurse-midwife was more in line with my personality, doctors always seemed to be in a rush and had no relationship with their patients.
But working in HMO opened my eyes to another side of healthcare. I’ll probably do it (nurse midwife) in the future – after retirement – in some 3rd world Caribbean country. But for now, my passion is caring for the geriatric population.
Why Nurse Practitioner?
Making a difference!
I love being a nurse but you’re very limited/restricted in what you can do. For example, I have to wait for an order from a physician to provide wound care or address a situation where I see a patient being prescribed meds that shouldn’t be taken together. As a practitioner, I’m able to take control, fix the problem and be apart of a team.
Choosing any other health profession, I feel, would have been a slap in the face to my field. I value the nursing profession and our rich history. As an RN, I’ve laid a solid foundation for the next level of education and really got a chance to see the dynamics of healthcare.
What does a typical day look like for you?
How do you manage entrepreneurship, marriage, motherhood and being a medical provider?
A support system is essential.
This would be super difficult without their help and encouragement. I’m able to make all of this look so easy because of them. I encourage anyone, family or no family, to surround yourself with people who support your vision and dream. They don’t need to understand it, but they need to be rooting for you.
If I didn’t have my family and close friends cheering me on, I would still do it – but it would be extremely difficult; a VERY steep mountain to climb alone.
What do you do for “me time” ?
Meditation. It helps me to slow down and be present in the moment.
How did you prepare your kids for the change?
While completing prereqs – I spoke to my kids about the changes that were coming and that I would need some space during the week. They know that I’m always available whenever they need me, but they also respect that it can’t be constant. Now that I am running a business I set my own hours, but I’m on call 24/7. I usually reserve Saturdays for giving my undivided attention to my family.
What effect has your career had on your children?
It’s definitely fostered a level of independence in them.
I believe that I can do it all! And I instill that mentality in my kids. We don’t have to choose between a career and a family, because our brains have an infinite capacity to do so much more. My husband also owns his own business, so my kids have always witnessed entrepreneurship and flexibility. They know that they can do the same if that’s what they choose to do.
It’s been a long time but from what I remember:
ARNP GPA – 3.56
BSN – 3.0
My Nurse Practitioner program didn’t require a GRE scores and I wasn’t required to take the TEAS exam to apply for my BSN
If you could go back to the moment that you decided to pursue your Master’s degree, what would you say to yourself?
Good job, keep it up!
Do you have any regrets?
None! I don’t live with any regrets, it’s not a part of my DNA.
What’s your advice to the mom out there second guessing herself and hesitating to fulfill her career aspirations/goals?
Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.
The amount of time you spend in school obtaining your education compared to the time spent working cannot be compared. There’s never a perfect time, so stop waiting for one. There will always be obstacles or reasons not to do it. You have to make your reality what you want it to be by pushing yourself to do more.