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Washington State University

Three ANEW students share their experience

DNP students at the WSU College of Nursing are eligible for an Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant aims to provide enhanced training and scholarships to students to increase the number of primary care Nurse Practitioners practicing in rural and underserved areas. Students who will enter their clinical rotations in the Spring 2022 (FNP) or Summer 2022 (PMHNP) are eligible to apply this fall.  Here are the stories of three ANEW scholarship recipients who will graduate this spring.  

Benjamin VerbilBenjamin Verbil

“I’ve been a nurse since 2013. It’s a second career for me; I was a seasonal whitewater rafting guide. My first nursing degree was a diploma program in Connecticut, then I decided to do an online RN-BSN. About that time I started in the emergency department and I’ve been an emergency department nurse since then.  

As I spent time in the ER a few things seemed to almost always be true: No. 1, a lack of primary care had a direct relationship to why that person was in the ER. And having more primary care providers out there was huge to me. Having the experience of primary care throughout the DNP program was super valuable. I started to see where nurse practitioners and physician assistants could really play a role in improving the flow within the emergency department.  

When we first got the email on the ANEW grant, I was already considering all these interesting places in Washington where I’d been a whitewater guide and wondered what healthcare was like in these places. My first rotation was in Grand Coulee and Electric City. I was so impressed with one of the nurse practitioners, my first NP preceptor. She is essentially running an internal medicine clinic out there, and the things she does for her patients and the lengths to which she goes to access care and medications are incredible. That experience was empowering because I saw what the potential was for a primary care-prepared NP and what they could do in terms of effecting the change I wanted for my future practice, which is keeping people out of the ER.  

If I had my druthers I’d end up in a rural area with a primary care practice moonlighting in the ER overnight.”  

Catherine ShuttyCatherine Shutty

“I’ve been in nursing for 13 years. When I got my bachelor’s degree I decided that being out in the community as a nurse was a passion of mine. I was a school nurse for five years where I was able to see students over a long period of time rather than a couple hours in an ER or couple of days in a facilityI liked having that impact on their health over the course of time.  

School nursing spurred me to go back to school, get a terminal degree and be at the top of what nursing allows me to do. I chose the Family Nurse Practitioner program because I wanted to be able to care for all ages and focus on outpatient care rather than being in a hospital. I felt like WSU would give me the best opportunity to learn about rural healthcare because I live in a rural community rather than going into a more urban setting.  

My overall goal is to work in primary care in a rural community. I think it’s really important to have providers who understand that rural way of life, who live in a rural community and are able to dedicate big chunks of their career to that community. That consistency is really beneficial 

A big part of the ANEW program is making sure your clinical experiences are dedicated to rural settings. It definitely has prepared me well. As an NP who wants to work in a rural community I need to make sure I’m at the top of my game and as prepared as possible because in a lot of situations I’m going to be it. This program has definitely set a great foundation for that.”  

Jean-Nguyen-McGuireJean Nguyen

When I was in my 20s I went through a grieving period from a loved one lost, through suicide. Through that I realized how selfishly I lived my life and decided I wanted to do something that actually gives back.  

I went straight for an RN through an associate’s program, but I knew by that time I wanted to become a nurse practitioner. I was working inpatient which is a very reactionary kind of medicine. I felt preventative medicine was much more needed and I wanted to be part of that part of healthcare.  

I grew up in big cities my whole life but I knew rural areas needed more help and assistance in healthcare. I wanted to go to a program that had the capacity of a large university like WSU but understood rural areas.  

Part of the requirement of the ANEW program is to do 70% of our rotations in rural areas or with underserved populationsIt’s been quite eye opening. The considerations you have to take about allergies and things like that, what kind of heat do they use? You can’t assume it’s gas or electric, it could be a woodstove. It was a big eye opener how people live their lives so differently, and how they view healthcare so differently. They are more willing to say, that’s just the way life is 

ANEW was absolutely a big help. I felt much more comfortable having my rotation be in Grandview, in central Washington. Because it’s so far away I stay in a hotel a couple times a week, but I don’t have the stress of how to pay for it.    

I’m looking for a job and it’ll be either rural, or if I stay in a larger city, working with underserved. But I do see myself in the future in a rural area.”