Flexibility, Grit, Gratitude Are Key to Being Great Nurse Practitioner

In an interview with Contemporary Clinic, Rachel C. Vandemark, MHA, BSN, spoke about her experience in nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being an expert on immunization and cognizant on social determinants of health for communities and patients as a whole are some of the important keys to being a successful nurse practitioner, according to Rachel C. Vandemark, MHA, BSN in an interview with Contemporary Clinic.

Vandemark is a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Track at the University of Washington School of Nursing (Class of 2022) with experience in pre-hospital care as well as hospital safety and quality. A mother of 3 children, Vandemark was prepared to take on whatever the School of Nursing’s courses threw at her, even a worldwide pandemic.

Based in Seattle and close to the city of Kirkland, Washington, where the first major COVID-19 outbreak took place, gave her a true firsthand experience of where the pandemic was headed.

“There was a really rapid shift from 100% in-person to 100% online classes, and I saw my DNP classmates provide care to COVID-19 patients while trying to take care of young children at home, and even sharing Wi-Fi with others just to get things done,” Vandemark said.

This experience reminded her about how people’s home lives and lived experiences are not always visible to health care providers, but they are extremely essential to the health care system.

“We need experts on immunizations and such, but we also need to be advocates for systems and policies that optimize health for everyone,” Vandemark said.

As for other nurse practitioners who are about to enter the field, Vandemark highly emphasized being flexible as things begin to unfold, whether it is a pandemic or a change in direction in health care. Additionally, continuing to promote good public health always helps, such as helping with the immunization movement and practicing safe health care policies.

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