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On the yellow brick road: one nurse's journey.

I have been a Family and Adult Nurse Practitioner (NP) since 2001. During the day, I work with Dr. Stephen Katz, Internal Medicine, and Kristyn Lyons, Adult NP, in a small primary care practice in Severna Park, Maryland.

On November 11, 2009, I opened my own practice, Who Cares? We Do!, Family, Walk-in, Urgent care, on Robinson Rd. in Severna Park, with hours that start when my day life ends.

After graduating from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee with a degree in mathematics, and in true Sewanee style, I decided to join the Peace Corp, build bridges and teach math. Unfortunately, the Peace Corp interviewer in Washington, DC at the time said no, but if you had a medical or nursing degree, we could use you!

At the time, Pace University in New York offered a program for other disciplines to become Registered Nurses (RN). And after graduating, I enlisted, as an 1st Lieutenant in the Uniformed Branch of the Public Health Service (USPHS) and went to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, as an emergency room nurse. After finishing my 2-year tour of duty, I became a 'traveling nurse' taking short-term contracts across the US-ski resorts in winter and beaches in summer!

However, emergency room nursing is hard on the soul and demanding on the body, so I was looking for something to do in my 'old age.' Encouraged by three of the best NPs I have known, Helen Brown, Jane Corner and Kathy Ogle, I obtained a Masters Degree in Nursing, at Bowie State University, Maryland and became a Family Nurse Practitioner.

My daytime practice encompasses many generations and life changes. I have patients from great-grandmothers to their great grandchildren who trust me with their care. I have seen patients in the office for illness and health maintenance; in the hospital when they are critically ill; and in their homes when their health keeps them house-bound. Now that I have opened my practice in the evening, I am seeing younger children with minor illnesses and injuries.

Nurse Practitioners, in the state of Maryland, are independent practitioners who work in many diverse disciplines including cardiology, dermatology and orthopedics. We work in rural areas and inner cities. We provide affordable, experienced health care for much of Maryland.

There are few NP run practices in Maryland at this time. Sandi Shanahan, CPNP, opens a non-profit clinic every Tuesday for children with no medical insurance. She sees children from birth to 19 years of age, and asks for a small donation at the visit. Volunteer interpreters are on site to assist. The clinic is held in the basement of Mt. Olive Church at 2 Hicks Avenue in Annapolis, just off West St.

Susan Delean-Botkin owns Family Care of Easton, a caring medical practice for everyone ages 10 and up, with 5000 patients. They excel in preventive health care, routine health care and the management of acute and chronic illnesses and are staffed with two NPs and a part-time physician.

In the future, I hope to move into running the business and having other NPs work the clinic hours. I would like to be open 7 days a week for at least 4 hours a day. I also hope to further the understanding of the Maryland public and elected officials about Nurse Practitioners, their unique role in our present health care system and their potential to assist in the future health care landscape. And perhaps, someday, open a similar clinic in another neighborhood!

by Elaine M. Crain, MSN, Family & Adult Nurse Practitioner
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Title Annotation:Practice
Author:Crain, Elaine M.
Publication:Maryland Nurse
Date:May 1, 2010
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