At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) student Carrie Baker, MSN, FNP, PMHNP, is utilizing her experience as a nurse practitioner to advocate for the health of her community. Baker is pursuing a Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at FNU (Class 40) and is set to graduate this year.
A former U.S. Army officer, Baker lives on a Marine Corps housing installation in Hawaii with her two children and her spouse, who is an active member of the U.S. military. There, she serves as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) for a local nurse practitioner-owned telepsychiatry practice and as a Periodic Health Assessment provider.
Baker’s patient base is wide-ranging, including urban and rural, male and female and local and military. By completing psychological evaluations and medical management via telehealth, Baker is able to reach patients through most of Hawaii’s chain of islands.
Recently, Baker has served as an advocate for the public health and safety of her community. On Nov. 20, 2021, 14,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a military storage facility in Hawaii that is operated by the U.S. Navy. As a result, the Navy’s water distribution system, which Baker’s community uses, became contaminated. Soon, residents began complaining of a visible oil sheen on the water, odor and a variety of illnesses.
Seeking accountability and solutions from local leaders, Baker co-organized a community town hall meeting.
“Due to a lack of acknowledgement, validation and communication, our community has taken a stand to be heard,” Baker said. “Somehow, I have found myself at the forefront of this.”
Several key stakeholders were invited to the meeting, including the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Hawaii, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, local housing leadership, local water board personnel and members of the media. During the meeting, community members were given the opportunity to ask questions to leadership personnel.
Baker said some key takeaways from the meeting included increased communication, further water testing, flushing of the community water system, entitlements (such as funds for hotel lodging until the issue is resolved) and continued water points on the installation for retrieval of clean water.
“We are far from having this situation resolved, but we now have the attention of those leaders who matter,” Baker said. “There is still some discord between the community and the leadership in that we still have not been acknowledged as affected.”
Baker said her experience as a nurse practitioner gave her the confidence to advocate for the health of her community. To that end, she said she has decided to earn her DNP to gain confidence in being a leader and advocate for her patients and the community. She said FNU was the right choice in her pursuit of this goal.
“I decided to become a DNP to gain confidence in being a leader and advocate for my patients and community.”
– Carrie Baker, MSN, FNP, PMHNP
“I decided to become a DNP to gain confidence in being a leader and advocate for my patients and community,” Baker said.
Thank you, Carrie, for exemplifying FNU’s Culture of Caring, both in your professional endeavors and in your community activism.
To learn more about FNU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice, click here.