Allen College Class of 2013 (BSN) and 2017 (MSN, PMHNP)
I have always been fascinated with the mind, so when I was offered a job on the inpatient geriatric-psych unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) as a new BSN graduate, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I learned a lot while working there, but I also learned that I didn’t like the nature of inpatient care; changing medications and dosages daily before a true difference could be seen. I also realized I’d rather be involved in working one-on-one with patients to develop a treatment plan based on their goals and desires, rather than implementing one. This idea is what urged me to go back to school in pursuit of a MSN and become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. I then worked in the Digestive Disease Clinic at UIHC where I learned a lot about the connection between the gut and GI issues with the mind. I continued to work on the procedure unit while I attended Allen College for my MSN and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree. I had finally figured out how to integrate my love for the mind with the type of care I believed would produce the best results. I then set forth mentally planning my dream clinic – one that integrated several wellness modalities with traditional psychiatry care. A holistic wellness clinic that looked beyond the symptoms at hand to instead recognize the whole body, environmental stressors, exposures, ingredients, and attempt to obtain the root cause of a (mental health) problem. With a greater focus on wellness (something everyone can benefit from), I hoped to lessen the stigma against mental illness and to normalize engagement in activities and modalities to make everyone well and no longer a victim of their symptoms.
Upon graduating with my PMHNP degree, I worked a telepsychiatry job with a company in Wisconsin. This job provided me with great experiences regarding traditional psychiatry care from the provider standpoint. I enrolled in Functional Medicine University to become a Certified Functional Medicine Provider while working for this company. While I had my dream clinic in mind, I didn’t expect it to be an option anytime in the near future. Everything changed when my brother informed me he’d bought a commercial space that had space in need of renovation. I had no idea where or how to start, but I knew this was my moment. I was living in Iowa City at the time, balancing work, home, and driving back and forth to Cedar Falls countless times to create my ultimate dream. I’d also enrolled in a health and life coaching program at that time.
Transcend Mind-Body Wellness & Floatation Clinic opened doors in November of 2017. We started with one float tank, but by the end of the summer, we had another float tank, massage therapy, an infrared sauna, personal training and group fitness classes, reiki, reflexology, and health and life coaching. Transcend is working on getting credentialed with insurance companies to provide psychiatry services to patients. We have been approved with Blue Cross Blue Shield and will soon be able to accept UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Medicare, and a few others. We also added cryotherapy to our service list in January of 2019. We host empowerment, vision board, and meditation/mindfulness classes and are excited to see what else comes our way in 2019!
What led you to pursue your education at Allen College?
I was born and raised in Cedar Falls. I always knew I loved wellness, the mind, and health in general, but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I started college at the University of Northern Iowa with a major in Exercise Science and Psychology, but it didn’t feel like the right fit. My parents encouraged me to visit Allen and I immediately knew it was the route I needed to take!
Please share any accomplishments, awards, or proud moments.
I graduated both undergraduate and graduate school with honors. Transcend has been highlighted in local newspapers and news station, which has led to many proud, “how did I actually make it this far” moments!
How did Allen College help prepare you for where you are now?
Allen provided me with options and experiences that helped me learn what areas of nursing I did and did not like. Without the curriculum set this way, I likely wouldn’t have found my passion and life’s purpose!
I don’t have a whole lot of extra time right now, but that is just fine because I love what I do! During my downtime, I like to focus on my personal health and wellness, try new recipes and experiment with healthy foods, spend time with friends, family, my beloved dog, Eddie, and travel whenever possible!
What piece of advice would you give to current Allen students?
I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when looking at a class syllabus and realizing how much work it’s going to take to get through that semester. Looking ahead at furthering your education is also daunting and makes you think you must decide between achieving your dreams or having a life. Trust me, though, I’m proof you can have it all! There were many days that I second-guessed myself, wondering if I’d made the right decision, if my dreams were far-fetched, and if I was ever “going to make it.” I still second-guess myself. But now it’s from a different place because I KNOW I can do it. Sometimes I’m not sure HOW I’m going to accomplish or achieve something, but I know I can. Having that trust in yourself changes everything!