Nursing Alumna Turns Mental Health Passion into Private Practice

Nursing practice is most often associated with hospital caregiving. Nursing alumna Jamie Anderson used to think that, too, until she learned just how many different paths her nursing career could take her.

Jamie started her nursing career in 2010 after graduating from Anoka-Ramsey Community College with her RN. While working in a hospital in 2011, she came to MSU Moorhead to complete the online RN to BSN program.

“Moorhead is about four hours away from me, so it was nice to have that flexibility with having a young family and also being able to work full-time at the same time,” Jamie said.

Besides the nursing program’s flexibility, Jamie had friends who attended MSUM and said the university's excellent reputation helped her choose MSUM. Once in the program, Jamie was appreciative of the amount of support the faculty gave her, saying they added a “human component.”  

“They were understanding and supportive and focused not only on what you wanted to do while in school, but they willingly talked about their journey and where you were thinking of going next,” she said.

Jamie appreciated the public health course in the program, which paired her with a public health nurse.

“I met with a nurse who took care of people at her church,” she said. “She said it was very different compared to working at a bedside hospital. It was fascinating to see how many different types of nursing [paths] there are.”

Through opportunities at MSUM and after, Jamie learned about different nursing career tracks and soon discovered where her passion lies. She enjoyed the interpersonal connection with patients over some of the physical caregiving duties.  

“I thought working in a hospital meant you were a real nurse, but that environment was not conducive to my strengths. I was struggling because it wasn’t the right environment or specialty for me,” she explained. 

After MSUM, Jamie earned her master's degree in family nurse practitioner from Walden University. While in her master's, Jamie worked as a nurse at Federal Cartridge, an American ammunition manufacturer. She did everything from emergency response and drug testing to first aid and health promotion.

“I  worked inside a factory, but they had a clinic for their employees. That’s where I first fell in love with occupational health,” she said.

She later graduated from Winona State University’s post-master’s program in psychiatric nurse practitioner. Her passion for mental health inspired her to open her own mental health private practice in February 2020.

She wanted her practice to be a place where employers paid for their employees’ visits, and she had lots of interest. But like much else at the time, COVID-19 caused her plans to change, and she chose to get insurance credentials so she could serve clients personally instead of through their employers. 

“It’s taken me a little while to grow, but now that I’m all credentialed with these places, it’s going well,” she said.

She’s had successful and rewarding experiences with her private practice. She can meet her clients where they’re at and take it at their pace. Jamie has a strong passion for working with people. 

“Caring is at the center of nursing, so it's a perfect fit for me,” she said.

Connecting with patients drives Jamie in her work, and because of her experiences in school and out, she is better able to care for them.

Jamie’s advice to nursing students:

Pay attention to how you’re feeling while you’re working in a specific environment. If you don’t love what you’re doing, get out. You went into nursing for a reason and there are many rewarding career paths for nurses that can bring joy

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