Tracy Klein is an Assistant Professor at the WSU Vancouver College of Nursing. She is originally from Portland, Oregon. She completed her FNP post-masters as a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner at WSU in 2003 and went on to complete her PhD in nursing from WSU in 2011 after transferring from Portland State University’s Public Policy PhD program. She is active in research and aims to identify knowledge deficits or needs which may be addressed by education or policy solutions.
Why did you choose nursing research/teaching as a profession?
I initially chose nursing as a profession in the midst of the 1980’s recession. I had a degree in English with a creative writing focus and was interested in a career to support my writing. I read the first book by Sally Tisdale called Harvest Moon and was very interested in how she incorporated nursing into her writing career. Around that same time Echo Heron published her book called Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse. This crystallized my pre-existing interest in women’s health and the self-help consumer movement. I found nursing to be both a venue to writing and a way to enact policy on a very meaningful level to help people have better lives. I decided to start taking courses with the goal of becoming a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. I was also exposed to the NP role at Planned Parenthood as a volunteer during a break from college. It seemed like a fantastic nursing role and in Oregon it was a very autonomous field with respect and a good scope of practice.
What do you hope to achieve with your research?
I hope to provide knowledge that can be applied to policy issues that impact change in people’s lives. The common thread through my current projects on adolescent concussion assessment and pediatric psychotropic medication prescribing patterns for ADHD are a desire to identify knowledge deficits or needs which may be addressed by education or policy solutions.
What advice would you give to students considering obtaining their advanced nursing degree?
My advice would be that it’s the best profession you can have if you are a curious person and a lifelong learner. My second piece of advice would be that it is not a race and you will not be happy or healthy if you are trying to work full time, go to school full time, and have interpersonal relationships with family and friends. It took me 7 years to complete my PhD. Keep a steady pace and work attentively, but do not burn yourself out.
How has your career changed or influenced your life?
Your patients and your students are your teachers. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with people from all backgrounds and get closer to their stories then I ever would have without nursing. I’ve learned something new every day and I hope that I’ve also been able to give back to my patients, colleagues, and the profession.
What’s your favorite quote?
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
While I am not teaching, you can find me here:
The Long Beach Peninsula with my spouse and dogs. Actually, I can teach from there too, which is one of the wonderful aspects of the WSU hybrid-teaching model!