Just a kid from Robbins (IL)
Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, University of South Florida (2006-2009)
Master of Science in Nursing, DePaul University (2010-2013)
Post Master's Certificate- FNP, Olivet Nazarene University (2014-2015)
Doctorate of Nursing Practice, University of Miami (2016)
Research Technologist, University of Chicago (2010-2013)
Med/Surg RN, University of Chicago Medical Center-RN residency program (2013-2015)
Family Practice NP, Golden Valley Health Center- NP residency program (2016-2018)
Correctional Health NP- KPG Healthcare (2018-Present)
Correctional health? That’s not exactly what I had in mind when I requested a position to work with underserved communities. I know nothing about this setting! Is it dangerous? What are the hours like? I searched for personal encounters from other providers who may have walked this path, so that I could make an informed decision based on testimonials. For the first time...Google failed me! I became determined to make sure this doesn’t happen to the next healthcare professional that takes the time to consider correctional health. There is quite a shortage of providers and in order to increase access to care, perhaps something outside of the box such as a simple blog to promote correctional health may assist in recruiting those who are on the fence. Plus I just think it would be dope! Now that I’ve moved out of the hood, I’ve gotta keep my street cred up somehow right!?! lol jk
Besides, if not me then who? Prisons are disproportionately filled with people of color. My melanin happens to be poppin so there’s no conflict there...I've got built in cultural competency! Some who avoid the correctional setting believe that criminals don’t deserve health care. I’ve even heard some judgmental people say, “They are getting what they deserve”; but I believe that healthcare is a human right not to be denied to any human being under any circumstances. Others are afraid... not really sure where I fit on that one yet! Stay tuned…lol
In retrospect, I’ve been groomed for this... I feel like I’ve found my purpose. My combo of growing up in the hood while attending an all white school all my life required me to be two different people every single day and then finally it just became a part of me! I am able to draw on all of my experiences and it has afforded me more opportunities than I could imagine including this one. Also, many of the prisoners suffer from mental illness. I have two very close family members who suffer from mental illness as well, and I’ve always had a special way of connecting with them when others could not. Perhaps because they know I am not judging them at each encounter, and they know that I love and accept them for who they are and would never treat them differently despite our differences. The same is true about those who spend time in jail. Some of my closest relatives and most favorite people in the world have spent time in jail. I think no differently of them. When I look at them I see the people I grew up with... building club houses and riding bikes... the people who had to sleep close to me after watching scary movies... the people who still elect to spend time with me despite our differences.
Everybody has a story and I’m a firm believer that we are all just one circumstance away from falling from wherever we THINK we are or whatever we think we have achieved. At any moment this could be you. Treat everyone how you would want to be treated no matter what. It is this thinking and background that puts me in a unique situation to make a difference with this population. Why not be the one smile they may see all day? Why not make them feel comforted and at ease in a place where they always have to watch their backs? Why not speak life into them when everyone else spews hate? This is my “Why”. I call it my....
Doctorate Level Purpose!
Being a Doctor as a nurse makes me a leader in my field and gives me a platform to make a difference. It forces me to walk in my purpose. I’m finally deciding to step into my title and enjoy my new city both socially and professionally. I am finally living the life of my dreams...The life I've sacrificed and worked so hard to build over the years. I can't wait to share it with you all and by doing so, I hope to inspire you to do the same!