In honor of Nurse Practitioner (NP) Week, Simi Joseph DNP, FPA-APRN, NP-C, NEA-BC and a nurse executive/advanced practice provider gave some insights about working as an NP. Joseph, who is also a Harvard Clinical Research Scholar and a past AANP Clinical Excellence Award Winner, was recently awarded a spot in POCN’s Top NPs of 2022. POCN is a peer education and support network for nurse practitioners and physician associates.
Please tell me about your career path as a nurse practitioner and how you arrived at where you are now.
Seventeen years ago, while I started my career in the United States, my motivation and vision were to make a lasting impression in the nursing field. My family migrated to this country to have a better life and to continue my education. I started as a registered nurse in the med-surg unit. The turning point of my career was when I switched my specialty to gastroenterology. I immediately fell in love with the gastroenterology specialty. The enthusiasm carried me all these years to work as an advanced practice nurse for gastroenterology patients. For the past 14 years, I have been taking care of acute and chronic GI patients. I had opportunities to implement many clinical programs for gastroenterology specialty practices. In addition, I am an adjunct professor, nurse researcher, speaker, and have mentored many advanced practice providers.
After my doctoral degree in nursing, my continuous effort and networking with colleagues opened opportunities to be part of many nursing organizations. I am an active member of the Chicago Society of Gastroenterology Nurses Association (CSGNA) (program director and President-elect), the Indian Nurses Association of Illinois (INAI) (exec. vice president)), the National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA) (APRN chair), and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) (speaker and AANP nurse research member). Currently, I am a PhD candidate at Northern Illinois University with a research interest in exploring advanced practice provider-led programs and clinical outcomes.
I feel blessed when I look back at my career growth. There were many mentors throughout my career who have guided me to choose the right path in the nursing profession. In addition to that, I believe in having a passion and determination in whatever you do can open many opportunities in the nursing career.
What makes your nursing specialty such a good fit for your interests and skills as a nurse practitioner?
I believe nursing specialties always match with the personality of the nurse. I am a person who loves to work in a fast-paced environment and like to face challenges. Gastroenterology specialty is a mix of treating disease conditions using medications as well as different types of procedures. We get to learn many skills through diagnostic technologies and developments in this area.
Please tell me a little about the America’s Top NP award and how it feels to be recognized by your peers for nursing excellence.
As a minority nurse, I feel humbled and honored by this recognition. This award is given to nurse practitioners who have made extraordinary contributions to support patient care, their peers, and to the community. POCN’s America’s Top NP award is very special because the awardees are nominated by their peers who recognize the candidate as someone who have excelled in many areas as an advanced practice nurse.
What do you wish more people knew about a career as a nurse practitioner?
Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are a vital part of our complex healthcare system. APNs provides primary, acute, and specialty health care across the lifespan through assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of illness and injuries. They are registered nurses educated at masters or doctoral level in a specific role and patient population.
In addition, APNs are certified and licensed to practice in the United States. To correct the shortage of primary care physicians, more health care facilities are utilizing APNs to care for their patients. For almost 50 years of the history of APNs, evidence shows NPs have consistently proven to be cost-effective providers of high-quality care. There are still many areas where an APN can be utilized to give high-quality and timely care to patients. I always advocate for nurses to advance their careers by becoming advanced practice nurses.
What advances are you most excited to see in the nursing industry?
In the nursing industry, I am more excited to see how an advanced practice providers can lead many areas of healthcare industry. They can educate other nurses, manage larger nursing departments, develop, and maintain nursing informatics systems, help draft health care policies, and provide executive-level nurse leadership to medical organizations. Another recent advancement is the achievement of full practice authority license in 29 states, where NPs can practice independently without a collaborative agreement.