FNP/PA CLASS NOTES
Welcome FNP/PA Alumni
The UC Davis Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant (FNP/PA) Program offers an innovative, two-year curriculum that allows students to remain in their home communities throughout California. Students attend classes in Sacramento in a block-time model for lectures and seminars, participate in distance-delivered coursework and complete most of their clinical courses in their home communities, thus increasing the numbers of NPs and PAs who remain in rural and underserved areas. Integrated master's degree opportunities are available. PA and NP graduates are licensed and practice as part of a health-care team that includes nurses, physicians and other health-care providers. Founded in 1972, the UC Davis program is an integral part of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. It is the largest program in California and the only University of California-sponsored PA Program. With more than 1600 graduates, the program has been a leader in meeting its mission to provide culturally relevant primary health care in California's medically underserved areas.
UC Davis FNP/PA alumni are encouraged to submit class notes for future editions to Isabel Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (916) 734-3859
Editor's note: A number of the following entries are reprinted with permission from the FNP/PA graduates-welcome Web site and have been edited for space.
I am a 1977 graduate of the UC Davis FNP program, which at that time also included a master's degree in Health Services. The class of 1977 was the founding group of the California Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (CCNP – now California Association of Nurse Practitioners) and had its conference in October 1977 with Mary Baker as the first president. I am proud to be a charter member of this group. I was on the board of directors for several years, conference chair in 1986 and continue to be active. I went on to take the Physician Assistant boards and became a certified PA as well. In 1994, I received a master's degree in Nursing from CSU, Sacramento. I continue clinical practice with Robert Browne in Family Practice in Stockton and have been there 32 years watching families grow through multiple generations. Kirti Solanki joined the practice in 1997. I also taught in the FNP/PA Program from 1987 until 2008, first in the Modesto satellite, then the Fresno teaching center and finally the Sacramento teaching center, traveling many miles over the years. I retired from the university in January 2008 to spend more time with my family and travel less. I continue with my clinical practice two days per week. My family includes my husband of 41 years, Bill, two children; Lisa (husband Ryan) of Danville, and Matt (wife Randi) of Modesto. I also enjoy seven grandchildren (Taylor, Tayla, Cinder, Meghan, Logan, Chloe and Sadie) who keep me busy with all of their activities.
Shirley (Redman) Heathman has worked as both an NP and PA in rural health clinics and also serves on her local health-care district.
Andres Bravo, PA-C, has been working in North San Diego since graduating. He writes "I find it rewarding and challenging." He hopes to connect with other fellow classmates and wish them "Merry Christmas and a fulfilling 2009."
UC Davis FNP/PA program satellite was in Fresno when I graduated in 1997. Eleven years have passed and I am now off on a new adventure – returning to school to obtain a Ph.D. As a physician assistant and nurse practitioner educator for the UC Davis FNP/PA program as well as for CSU Fresno, I continue to practice clinically in long-term care settings and ER fast track. This is what has inspired me to do my research in these areas: longterm care patients, in particular, and the attitudes of ER nurses caring for the demented patients. I'm a proud father of two boys and two girls. The oldest has medical-school interviews, with one being at UC Davis; the second is a high school teacher. The boys are at home going to school, one at a junior college, the other still in high school. The girls helped me with a sprint triathlon this year – I rode while they swam and ran. My boys came with me to Lake Tahoe area – one snowboarded while I participated in the winter biathlon. Spouse and I have been married 28 years. Hope to one day get a tandem so we can start riding. Very grateful for my education at the UC Davis FNP/PA program and proud to still be part-time faculty for them.
Tom Roseland is a practicing FNP in Merced at a not-for-profit, acutecare district hospital where his main goal is to effectively integrate family practice and psychiatric care.
David Allen, DC, ATC, PA-C, is working in orthopedic surgery in the San Francisco area.
Cathy Schwanz has been working as a hospitalist in Riverside County and is very eager to encourage other PA/NPs to become hospitalists.
Mercedes Barrutia Dodge
Upon completing the physician assistant program at UC Davis in June, I realized that I would be embarking on practicing real medicine without my educational support system – preceptors, study partners, classmates or professors. Now, I am practicing family medicine at Neighborhood Healthcare in Escondido, where I work side by side with physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. I work in a very supportive team of healthcare providers who consult with one another and continue to challenge their own medical knowledge. However, I will forever miss that place of learning that UC Davis FNP/PA program cultivated. Like many, I suppose, I will long for connecting with old classmates – checking in how their steps toward being a health-care provider are working out, how they moved on to balance family life and professional life, and most of all wishing them all the best.
The good news about alumni connecting is that the FNP/PA program alumni have now been added to the School of Medicine's alumni database. This enables graduates from the FNP/ PA program to receive the School of Medicine's magazines. Please keep in mind that alumni can also venture on the web at www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/ fnppa/graduates-welcome.html to update contact information, and check out other links to useful Web sites and events.
I've been blasted by good fortune. I am working with generous and talented veteran family practice providers at a non-profit clinic in western Sonoma County. I have also committed my time to work on a special outreach program targeting the local homeless population. Along with endless challenges as a new graduate, I have affirmed this is the best decision I've ever made. To the others out there, congratulations to anyone brave enough to enter the field of medicine. You rock!