Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumna Melissa Lawlor wears many hats. In addition to being a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) student and Certified Nurse-Midwife, she is a firefighter, EMT, educator, wife and mother of three.
“Frontier teaches you how to find the areas in your community that need serving and look for how you can best serve there,” said Melissa. Her search has led her into the education arena.
From her home in Pleasant Valley, New York, Melissa travels locally, statewide and even across the country, giving presentations about breastfeeding at medical conferences. She is working to raise awareness among fellow healthcare providers of the physical, emotional and economic benefits of breastfeeding.
She also gives free educational presentations to community members, covering the subjects of OB/GYN emergencies and possible complications. After attending one of Melissa’s presentations recently, her son, a firefighter/EMT, was able to save a premature baby’s life.
Melissa currently runs a private practice focused on home birth and lactation. She will be joining a hospital practice in the fall, allowing her to increase her scope of care.
In her practice, Melissa works with a diverse population of women. She is passionate about educating her low-income patients about the economic benefits of breastfeeding. Many on Medicaid have been able to alleviate the expenses associated with formula and bottle-feeding, freeing up those funds for other health complications.
Recently Melissa received the 2019 Dutchess County EMS Educator of Excellence Award for her tireless work educating EMS providers using evidence-based medicine.
When she decided to go to nursing school, Melissa knew she wanted to be a nurse-midwife, and FNU’s storied legacy drew her to apply. “I can clearly remember reading a book about Mary Breckinridge in high school. I thought, ‘This woman is amazing and what she accomplished was incredible,’” said Melissa.
One of the most valuable skills Melissa learned at FNU was community assessment. “They give you the skills to dig into your community, and you come out a more well-rounded healthcare provider,” she said.
“I’m always thinking, ‘What legacy will I leave behind?’ For me, a door has opened to educate healthcare providers and that’s where I am choosing to make my impact.”
Thank you, Melissa, for inspiring us with the many ways you impact your community!