Nurse Practitioner Feature: Christine

From an early age, Christine developed caregiver skills as she helped to care for her grandmother, who had lupus. Christine’s mom was a nurse, and so were her aunts. At eighteen years old, Christine knew she wanted to follow in their footsteps. Christine’s dad’s side of the family was filled with teachers passionate about educating the younger generations. Christine had much guidance toward starting a career as not only a nurse practitioner but also an educator. 

Finding the Perfect Career Path

Christine received her nursing degree and spent many years working the night shift. After ten years, she decided to continue her education and become a Nurse Practitioner. Christine specialized in Gerontology and Adult; this career path offered a more stable schedule with day shifts. After graduating, Christine enjoyed her job as a Nurse Practitioner but still felt something was missing from her life. Seven years later, Christine completed her Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certification.  Christine loved working in psychiatry, she had finally found what she was meant to do. Christine worked in every type of psychiatry – outpatient, inpatient, detox – you name it. A memory Christine shared was when she was able to help a woman who was suicidal and homeless. The woman walked an hour to get to the hospital, and Christine helped care for her. Weeks later, the woman said that act of kindness and care saved her life. When Christine is not practicing, she is teaching students at Duke University and UNC School of Nursing. She loves inspiring young students – just like her father. 

An Unexpected Journey  

Christine’s passion for psychiatry stems from within. She is grateful to be able to provide inspiration and hope to her patients. Christine has been working locum tenens for over six years. Her life was forced to change when she had to face a harsh reality. Christine was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She was forced to move back home to South Carolina so her family could help her through chemotherapy. Christine continued to work locum tenens assignments, so she could still do what she loved but also have the flexibility to cut back on shifts during treatment. Christine shared, “What you go through in life is a journey, and cancer happens to be my journey. Having cancer has put a different light on how I work and what I do. This is a story I can tell when I am better. This is a story I can tell others to help them through hard times.”.

Always Have Hope

Her best advice to any nurse practitioner considering locum tenens is to love and respect yourself first. You can’t help another person if you don’t love yourself. Christine shared that it is important to get to know the team you’ll be working with and offer them the respect you also expect to be given. It is important to ask them if they need help and be a true team player. While Christine’s locum tenens journey may look different in the coming months while she battles cancer, she intends to use her story to encourage and inspire hope in others. Christine believes hope is the most important thing you can have – it doesn’t come from education; it comes from the heart. In January, Christine hopes she will be back doing what she loves, caring for her psychiatry patients.  

If you are a nurse practitioner in psychiatry, join our Facebook community: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners

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