Snapshot of a Nurse Practitioner: Cristina Yasuko Matsumoto

Name: Cristina Yasuko Matsumoto
Job Title: Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Board certified (WHNP-BC)
Place of Employment: Rush University Medical Center of Chicago, Adolescent Family Center
Graduated From: University of Illinois of Chicago (BSN-Nursing); Loyola University of Chicago in Maywood (WHNP)
Certifications: NCC certified (National Certification Corporation)
Length of Time Practicing: 10 months

Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)

I became interested in nursing as a young child when I used to care for my family members whenever they became ill. My father had mentioned to me one day that he thought I would be a good nurse and I always kept that idea in the back of my head. During high school I really took an interest in classes that dealt with science and was fascinated at how the human body functioned. In college, I decided that I would pursue a career in nursing because it incorporated what I loved doing best, caring for the sick and dealing with science. In college I started taking nursing prerequisites for about two years, then entered the nursing program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) which also took me two years to complete.

During one of my clinic rotations, I had the opportunity to shadow a family nurse practitioner for a couple of days. This was my first time having any exposure to a nurse practitioner, and I wasn’t sure how their job was different than a regular registered nurse. After the first day of following her around the clinic I knew that a nurse practitioner was an avenue that I wanted to pursue. I saw what a huge difference in not only the scope of practice between a nurse practitioner and a registered nurse, but there was a huge difference in autonomy. I also loved the clinic setting she worked in compared to a hospital type setting in which many nurses practice in. I also realized that this nurse practitioner was practically functioning like a physician but she was practicing in a more holistic way which really peaked my interest. I knew then that I would go back to school after a year of nursing experience to pursue a degree as a family nurse practitioner.

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP)

After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in nursing, I worked for one year in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mount Sinai in Chicago, which was challenging, but I couldn’t picture myself doing that type of work for the rest of my life since it was very stressful. The next nursing position I had was on a labor and delivery and postpartum unit which made me change my decision again about what type of nurse practitioner I wanted to become. I was fascinated at pregnancy and how the human body changes as it prepares to bring a new life into this world. I then enrolled at Loyola University of Chicago after about two years of nursing experience to pursue a degree as a women’s health nurse practitioner. It took me about three and a half years to complete my women’s health nurse practitioner degree due to going to school part-time, which usually takes two years for full-time students.

One of the things that I appreciated was that Loyola was incorporating more online classes into their curriculum. As a single parent who was working part-time while also attending school, this option was a godsend for me. It not only was more convenient but I was able to spend more time with my son instead of having to drive about an hour each way going to and from classes. The way that the online classes were structured made it easier to follow since everything was laid out in the beginning and you knew what was expected of you. We were also able to give online presentations to our fellow classmates over the internet which was different for me since it was pretty new, but I feel like I adapted well. The only downside I felt to the online classes was that if you had a question about a lecture, you had to wait a day or two to hear a reply back from the teacher since you weren’t in class and couldn’t get immediate feedback. I believe the key to any class, whether it be online or in person, is to form a study group to assist one another; it also comes in handy just in case they should have an answer to questions you need answered about class.

Working as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

At my current job at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago’s West Loop, I function as a women’s health nurse practitioner. I work with low-income adolescent females ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old. I provide obstetric as well as gynecological care to this population. The care includes everything from STD counseling, testing, treatment, well-woman care including pap smears, providing contraception including oral contraceptive pills, Nuva-rings, placing intra-uterine devices, etc. I also provide prenatal and postpartum care. One of the things that differentiates me from a certified nurse midwife is that I do not perform deliveries, but I do see patients from the beginning of their pregnancies up until they deliver. I typically work around 40 to 50 hours per week.

The Best Online Nurse Practitioners Degrees

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who provides primary and specialty care to patients. A nurse practitioner is responsible for administering both nursing and wider healthcare services; and, they are licensed to prescribe medications. Becoming a nurse practitioner requires the completion of a master's degree program. Below are the most popular colleges offering online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees.

Walden University RN to MSN: Adult Gerontology NP
RN to MSN: Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP
Walden University - The Walden University Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program offers study in the advanced methods of practicing nursing throughout the healthcare industry. Registered nurses with bachelors in nursing are able to obtain their diploma in an accelerated format. Students can also specialize in various aspects of nursing, including Adult Gerontology, Adult Gerontology Acute Care, and Nurse Leadership.
Kaplan University MSN: Nurse Practitioners
MSN: Nurse Administration
MSN: Nurse Education
MSN: Nurse Informatics
Kaplan University - The Kaplan University MSN for Nurse Practitioners and RN to MSN programs offers students the opportunity to explore nursing methods in a dynamic healthcare environment. Courses include Advanced Nursing Roles, Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing, and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in a Diverse Community. MSN specializations are offered in nurse administration, nurse education, and nurse informatics.
Catholic University of America Doctor of Nursing Practice
Catholic University of America - At the Catholic University of America, students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program will participate in an online format that confers an advanced degree in the management of healthcare. Graduates leave CUA with the education and confidence to tackle the most pressing medical management challenges.
Grand Canyon University MSN: Nurse Leadership
MSN/MBA: Nurse Leadership
Grand Canyon University - The Grand Canyon University College of Nursing and Health Sciences provides students with a variety of master's programs tailored to meet the students specific interests. Specializations include Education, Leadership in Health Care Systems (also available as an MBA).
Simmons College MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
RN to MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
Simmons College - For students who want to advance their careers and quickly accomplish life goals, Simmons College offers two degrees to help students become nurse practitioners. The first allows students to specialize as Family Nurse Practitioner while the second program is an accelerated option for registered nurses interested in family nurse practice. Both degrees are accredited and through online courses, they can be accomplished in two years.
Georgetown University MSN: Midwifery and Women's Health
Georgetown University - Graduates of the Georgetown University online MS of Nursing in Midwifery and Women's Health will have more than just a degree to their name upon completion. Students will have the skill and knowledge to help advance their profession, and medicine as a whole, while serving as sponsors of the well-being and overall health of each of their patients.

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