Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumna Rachel Simmons, DNP, WHNP, is working to give a voice to minority patients who feel ignored and overlooked in the mainstream healthcare system.
Rachel was one of FNU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduates published in the recently-released 5th edition of Caring for the Vulnerable. Her chapter entitled Culturally contextualized community outreach program to promote breastfeeding among African-American women was based on over nine years of experience as a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) and Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) in Florida.
In her position as a dual certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Practitioner (APRN) at a community health center in Florida, Rachel primarily serves low-income and minority patients, many of whom have low health literacy and suffer from multiple chronic conditions.
“In my role as an ANP, I am able to assess and plan culturally competent care to reduce adverse outcomes associated with chronic conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia,” said Rachel.
Meeting her patients where they are in their current state allows Rachel to educate them and create an individualized plan for improving their health going forward.
In Rachel’s role as a WHNP, she works with at-risk women who tend to suffer poorer maternal and fetal outcomes. The goal is to get patients into early prenatal care so a trusting relationship is established for the duration of pre- and post-natal care.
Rachel has also worked to improve the culture around breastfeeding, emphasizing its importance for improving the health and well-being of both mother and baby.
As an African-American woman, Rachel empathizes with her minority patients who have often felt marginalized and been victims of racism in the healthcare system. She understands their lack of trust and strives to make sure each and every patient feels heard and advocated for.
“I have had similar experiences as my patients, so I listen with enhanced ears. I am a firm believer that when the lives of women change, there is a generational effect as cycles of poverty, low income, and low health literacy can be positively changed,” said Rachel.
A coworker who graduated from FNU caught Rachel’s attention when she was researching DNP schools, ultimately leading her to choose FNU for her DNP education.
“I noticed that this nurse practitioner seemed more prepared in terms of her skills and knowledge as compared to many other FNPs in the company. She had excellent communication skills and exuded confidence with minority patients, regardless of race.”
Rachel is honored to use her DNP skills to serve the vulnerable every day, and FNU is proud of her hard work in furthering its mission of reaching vulnerable populations.
To learn more about FNU’s DNP program, visit Frontier.edu/DNP.