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 who are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality healthcare to underserved and rural populations.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) student Paul Kibby, RN, is using his experience in the healthcare field to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in his community. Kibby is pursuing an MSN with a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty, in which he entered through FNU’s Bridge program (Class 174), and is set to graduate this year.
Kibby currently works with a new behavioral health clinic startup in Mountain View, Arkansas. Stone County, where Mountain View is located, has a federal poverty rate of over 20 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In his current role, Kibby is making efforts to research and change the stigma associated with mental health among rural men. He said he plans to do this by sending the local newspaper a letter to the editor, collaborating with the local community center, and having discussions with staff members at local banks, pharmacies, physicians offices, businesses and the local hospital to discuss the need to connect mental health with overall health care.
“They are both the same,” Kibby said.
Kibby has experience in several health care roles, such as an RN, nurse navigator, infusion and case manager and radiation oncology nurse for medical centers and institutions throughout Texas. He recently served as a case manager for Hospice of the Ozarks in Mountain Home, Arkansas, which is located about an hour away from Mountain View.
Upon initially moving to Mountain View, Kibby said he began to notice the prevalence of drug addiction and poverty among young people in the community. He soon realized he wanted to make a mission out of helping underprivileged members of his community with his health care background.
While working at Hospice of the Ozarks, Kibby injured his back and had to undergo surgery. As someone who deals with major depression and anxiety, Kibby said his time spent recovering from the surgery was particularly challenging, as he felt “idle.”
While recuperating, Kibby began looking into several programs online with the goal of “making a difference.” At the recommendation of some friends, Kibby decided to apply to FNU. To his surprise, he was accepted into the university.
“I ran down the stairs to tell my husband that I was accepted,” he said. “I cried so much that day because for the first time in months, I had great news and at 56-years-old, I was finally going to get to do more. I was on my way to making a difference in my little rural county. I still am holding on to that moment.”
For Kibby, what has appealed to him about FNU is the university’s rich history, diversity program, model of serving the underprivileged, and focus on rural community needs, regardless of socioeconomic status or race.
Kibby also is grateful for FNU’s faculty.
“The faculty allowed me to see the full potential within myself to be an excellent provider,” he said. “I am most thankful for all the faculty and hope to make each of them very proud of my accomplishments. My whole experience with FNU is and has been a valuable experience.”
We at FNU are grateful for Kibby and wish him continued success in his efforts to help his community!