Faculty practice provides faculty members with the opportunity to be engaged in their area of expertise. As leaders of exemplary, innovative, and culturally proficient faculty engagement, faculty members fulfill the mission of the UA Capstone College of Nursing’s Faculty Practice Committee. The Faculty Practice Committee strives to increase the visibility of the school of nursing by spotlighting the practice of faculty members as they practice in community agencies. Practice sites are diverse and represent the expertise and background preparation of faculty engaged in faculty practice. Faculty “spotlights” are updated multiple times annually to showcase the exceptional work of faculty practice members. Be sure to return to this webpage in the future to learn about the practice of other faculty members!
Tell us about your role at CCN.
I have been a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Capstone College of Nursing since 2019. I teach in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Initially, I taught in the Fundamentals of Nursing course but recently transitioned to teaching in the Nursing of the Childbearing Family course. Prior to becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse, my experience was in Maternal-Newborn nursing, so this course is a great fit for me. I also mentor undergraduate students and serve as a faculty advisor to Doctor of Nursing (DNP) students.
Tell us about your faculty practice.
I am a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with a weekly faculty practice at NorthRiver Primary Care Associates (NRPC) in Northport, Alabama. At NRPC, we want our patients to have the same blessings we desire for ourselves and our families: longer, happier, and healthier lives! We believe that the best healthcare is delivered with wisdom, skill, and compassion. So, in 2018, we opened NorthRiver Wellness and Weight Loss Services after identifying the local need for a comprehensive, medical-based program that emphasizes lifestyle modifications through behavioral counseling, accountability, and encouragement. I manage and work in the Wellness and Weight Loss Center.
What patient population do you serve?
I see patients aged 18-years of age to the elderly who desire improved health, weight loss and well-being. Many of my patients I see have numerous co-morbidities such as Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia which I address at each visit.
Tell us about a typical day in your faculty practice.
My day is filled with evaluating, treating, and managing the care of patients being seen for both initial and follow-up visits. During an initial visit, patients undergo a Body Composition Analysis (BCA) which includes their weight, BMI, resting metabolism, fat mass and percentage, muscle mass, and water mass and percentage. The BCA also projects expected weight loss for various programs and the patient’s mortality and morbidity risk for developing chronic health problems such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart Failure and Cancer. My patients really appreciate seeing these numbers and learning about their risk factors. Then, I obtain a thorough medical history and work to learn the patient’s weight loss/gain history and current expectations. After completing a physical, EKG and necessary lab work, I tailor a patient-centered plan that helps them accomplish their wellness and weight loss goals. Every follow-up visit includes a BCA, review of food, water, and exercise logs, as well as behavioral counseling. As the manager of the clinic, I am also responsible for leading our employees and managing the operations of the clinic. So, my other responsibilities include ordering nutritional and dietary supplements, scheduling, and managing the marketing aspect of the clinic.
How do you incorporate evidence-based research into your faculty practice?
One way that I incorporate evidence-based research into my faculty practice is by following the US Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) recommendation to include behavioral interventions in a comprehensive weight loss plan. The USPSTF states that offering or referring adults with obesity to intensive behavioral interventions or behavior-based weight loss maintenance interventions has a moderate net benefit. One way I meet this recommendation is by providing behavioral counseling at every visit. Some of the topics covered include poor eating habits, managing temptations, accepting responsibility, stress management, and emotional eating, among many others. Another way I stay current on evidenced-based guidelines regarding disease management in my faculty practice is by accessing numerous medical journals, apps, and online resources such as UpToDate. There is no way to know everything about every condition. Having these resources at my fingertips is invaluable!
What are your professional interests related to your faculty practice?
My clinical and academic areas of interest include innovative teaching strategies, obesity management, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and FNP preceptorship. In the future, I am interested in learning more about specific interventions that improve weight loss compliance and maintenance.
What are your future plans related to faculty practice?
I plan on continuing to work at NRPC. I have been there in one way or another since 2007 so it feels like my second home to the CCN. I hope to continue to develop our services and even add new services such as food sensitivity testing.
What changes have you seen in your area of expertise in the last several years?
One change I’ve seen in the last several years is incorporating the role genes play in developing obesity and how best to lose weight based upon genetic predisposition. In response to patient demand and in hopes of providing comprehensive care, we added DNA genetic testing as a service. While it remains a pricey option, many of my patients consider it a game-changer.
How does your practice contribute to the mission of the Faculty Practice Committee and CCN?
The mission of the CCN is to promote the health and well-being of the people of the State of Alabama, the nation, and the world through nursing education, research, scholarship, and service. My faculty practice at NorthRiver Wellness and Weight Loss allows me to meet the health needs of the people of West Alabama by providing comprehensive, wellness and weight loss services! I am proud to contribute to this much needed service within our community.