November 12-18 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, designated to recognize the contributions of nurse practitioners across the United States. This year, we are highlighting Ade Ogunmokun, one of Consilium’s partnering locum tenens psychiatric nurse practitioners.
At the beginning of Ade Ogunmokun’s career, she was working as a certified nursing assistant but was uncertain about her long-term plans. It was the guidance of other nursing professionals at each new step of her career—coupled with a natural curiosity and true empathy for her patients—that eventually led her to earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and finally, her master’s and a license as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PNP).
“When I first got into nursing, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career down the road,” Ogunmokun said. “I started as a nursing assistant, which also is when I was first introduced to the world of long-term inpatient psychiatry. When I met medication aides at work, I was really intrigued by the job so I asked a lot of questions. Soon after that, I decided to go back to school and become a medication aide myself.”
It was through her work as a medication aide, Ogunmokun said, that piqued her interest in medication management. She briefly considered a career in pharmacy, but given her previous experience, she was positive that she was most passionate about psychiatry. She returned to school to complete the training to become an LPN and then an RN, and by then, she said her mind was set on advancing through the profession.
“I ended up moving into a setting that was inpatient but with more temporary stays, so patients were released back into the community in a very short timeframe,” Ogunmokun said. “I really became concerned about how these patients were going to function by themselves back out in society, and I wondered what I could do to better assist people in similar situations.”
While at that facility, Ogunmokun began feeling that while there was much she wanted to do to help her patients, she was limited by the fact that she was not allowed to prescribe medicine. It was then that she began working alongside several psychiatric nurse practitioners.
“I actually had no idea who they were,” Ogunmokun said. “I assumed they were doctors because they could prescribe medicine, but they ended up teaching me a lot about the process and benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner. It really got me thinking once I learned that they too were in the nursing profession—I had been frustrated for a while about barriers to helping my patients as much as I wanted. It became clear to me that I could overcome those obstructions as an NP, so I went back to school yet again.”
Fact: Nurse practitioners can prescribe medicine, including controlled substances, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
In addition to prescriptive privileges, the NP profession appealed to Ogunmokun because nurse practitioners care for the “whole patient.” Alongside prescribing medicine and dispensing medical advice, NPs focus on the provision of health and wellness education and culturally competent care.
“It was during my first assignment with Consilium that I really began to understand the impact you can have as a nurse practitioner,” Ogunmokun said. “I had never worked in an outpatient setting before, but they gave me the opportunity to try it. It is so gratifying for me to help patients improve to the point that they begin thriving in personal and professional settings.”
Ogunmokun, who has worked with Consilium for three years, recounts the story of a patient she treated on assignment who was going through an incredibly rough patch in his life.
“That gentleman was dealing with all sorts of huge life issues simultaneously,” Ogunmokun said. “He had lost his wife, a number of his other relatives died within the same timeframe, he was completely unable to sleep at night, and he was struggling not to lose his house. It was incredibly rewarding when he returned a month later and I saw that my choice of medications was the right combination for him. He was sleeping better, feeling better overall despite the circumstances, and he was starting to move forward again. That was big for me.”
Ogunmokun, something of a world traveler, chooses to work locum tenens in large part because of the control she can maintain over her schedule.
“I really enjoy traveling, and I want to have the option to, say, visit the United Kingdom for six weeks if I want to,”Ogunmokun said. “In a regular job that’s virtually impossible, but locum tenens makes it so easy, and Consilium truly understands the concept of locums. They aren’t like some agencies that will ask where you’re going or why you need to be off—they really give you the freedom and flexibility to work as you choose.”
In the interest of paying forward some of the wisdom she received as an aspiring NP, Ogunmokun offers guidance to nurse practitioners who are not yet sure what type of work arrangement they should choose.
“If I were to advise an NP who was considering doing locum tenens, I would say to just maintain an open mind and give it a try,” Ogunmokun said. “Locums is a great way to experience new practice settings and you can generally stay for as long as you would like. The biggest thing is that with Consilium, you know you will be taken care of. It makes all the difference to work with someone who is an outspoken advocate for you and your needs—I feel like I have that in Cullen and Shadley, my recruiter and account manager.”
Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?