Tribal health services continue to add more patient services to meet the ever growing need. This growth requires an expansion of facilities and staff to meet those ever increasing numbers. Seminole, Oklahoma native Vanessa Harvey, Nurse Practitioner is the latest medical professional to join the CPN West Health Clinic team.
Born and raised in the area, Harvey is a graduate of Liberty Baptist Academy in Shawnee. She graduated with an Associate in Science from Seminole State University before completing her Bachelors in Science of Nursing from East Central University in Ada, Okla. Her academic and career path appeared set, as she followed her mother and other family members into the field of nursing.
“Since I can remember, even as a small child I wanted to be a doctor,” recalled Harvey. “When my mom became a nurse, I changed my mind and wanted to do what she did.”
Harvey has extensive experience in emergency room and hospice care as a registered nurse. Both settings gave her a wide spectrum of nursing experiences, from the arduous and frenetic emergency room shifts to the considerably slower pace, yet emotionally draining care provided in hospice. Her work as a registered nurse was fulfilling, however, Harvey’s desire to do more in the patient care setting reignited.
“After eight years in the ER, I wanted something that was more feasible for my family. I loved it, but it was time for a change,” she said of her decision to pursue her Nurse Practitioner’s license.
Though a certified registered nurse upon her graduation from ECU, Harvey’s desire to build upon and expand her nursing knowledge and skills, she pursued her Certified Nurse Practitioners licensure with Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Ky. Her tenacity and dream to become a primary healthcare provider drove Harvey to attended classes each weekday before carrying full nursing shift hours from Friday afternoons through the weekend all while juggling the demands of motherhood. It was at Frontier Nursing University where Harvey met Barbara Moore, APRN. Moore was Harvey’s regional clinical coordinator and spoke very highly of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation which was where Moore was in practice at the time.
Harvey graduated from Frontier Nursing University and worked for a short time at a small medical practice when she heard of the opening with the CPN West Clinic. Harvey jumped at the opportunity to work for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation as a Board Certified Family Practice Nurse Practitioner.
Although the scope of care can vary from state to state, most nurse practitioners can work independently of physicians while providing primary, acute and specialty health care services. Here at the CPN West Clinic, Harvey joined the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services in November 2014 and she works in professional collaboration with Dr. Adam Vascellaro, the family physician at the West Clinic, to provide the widest range of services with emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole patient.
Her extensive work experience has already paid dividends though, with the West Clinic’s three full time providers seeing more than 720 patients in January 2015 alone. On average, that is about 35 patient visits a day between the three providers.
“Most people will never understand what it’s like to be a nurse,” concluded Harvey. “Of course there are bad days when you go home and cry for your patients and their losses. However, when you are able to help save a life, deliver a baby, or positively impact someone’s life, all the pain is worth it.”
Vanessa Harvey, APRN’s dedication to excellence in patient care and her holistic approach to patient centered care coincides with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Service’s mission. If you would like to learn more about the services offered by the West Clinic and other CPN Health Services, please visit www.potawatomi.org/services/health/clinics or call (405) 273-5236.