As a clinical research assistant at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Nisha Naik, RN, saw the bond nurses formed with their patients and realized she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. She enrolled in the Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) program at the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Chan Medical School, where after one year of education she becomes a registered nurse and is working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice. Her timing was coincidental, as she was able to care for a close relative in her time of need after she completed her RN.
“Having GEP that year allowed me to provide really important care for my aunt in her final days, before she died of ovarian cancer,” Naik said. “And while that was a very difficult experience, it was also something that really reaffirmed to me how necessary it is to have good nurses and empathetic nurses. And it just made me grateful that the training I received at UMass Chan was one that enabled me to be an effective nurse for my aunt.”
Naik is in UMass Chan’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, on the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track. She is the first practice nursing student to volunteer at the Worcester Asylum Clinic, a student-run clinic traditionally supported by students from the TH Chan School of Medicine. She hopes to inform other nursing students about this opportunity so that they too can support refugees and asylum seekers.
“I think healthcare as a whole is moving towards a very interdisciplinary approach. You really can’t achieve much in healthcare unless you work as a team with a multitude of different specialties,” said Naik.
Naik’s parents moved from India to New Hampshire before she was born. She was born and raised in Bow, New Hampshire. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bates College, with concentrations in chemistry and public health. She currently serves as an RN with the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center’s Medication-Assisted Treatment Program, helping patients with substance use disorders. Naik said she chose UMass Chan to specialize in mental health while earning her DNP. She has a passion for integrated behavioral health care.
“I think there is a huge need for mental health care in primary care. I think it’s a very unknown and stigmatized issue that people face when they have mental illness. I would like to work with patients who may have comorbid mental illness and also consult in the clinical setting for patients with mental illness that are not necessarily treated effectively,” Naik said.
The Student Spotlight series features UMass Chan Medical School students in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, and TH Chan School of Medicine. For more information about UMass Chan Medical School and how to apply, visit the: Prospective students page.
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