Mary T. Parsons

My educational background began with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from SU in 1985. Soon thereafter, I was married, raising two daughters, and running a home-based business. After getting through the early years of motherhood, I returned to school to pursue a career in nursing. I entered the field as a professional in 1995, with a Bachelor's degree, my RN license, and a world of opportunities! I worked for a short while in the local hospital's ICU, and then became the Project Coordinator for the Center for Adolescent Health at Salisbury University. Here I developed a sound base of knowledge and professional interest in adolescent health promotion and disease prevention. My goal was to become a Nurse Practitioner, and to provide clinician services to the school based wellness centers in the area.

Continuing on with my education at Salisbury University, I completed the Master's in Science program and became certified to practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I have worked as an FNP in School Based Wellness Centers in Delaware and Maryland, and I was the lead clinician for University of Maryland's Wellmobile program on the Eastern Shore. With the Wellmobile program, I provided health care services to the uninsured and underserved populations, including the migrant workers at Hooper's Island.

At the present time, I provide part-time Nurse Practitioner services for the Wicomico County Health Department. My goal here is to meet the health care needs of these clients, while at the same time providing them the dignity, the individual attention, and the health education they need to make the best health decisions they can for their future.

The main focus of my career at this time is with Salisbury University, where I am employed full-time as a Nursing Instructor. I teach in the Pediatrics courses for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students, and I supervise and instruct students in various clinical settings in the community. My areas of special interest include public/community health, access to care issues, and children's health promotion. Additionally, I am concerned about the nursing shortage, and the need for professional, qualified faculty members to lead nursing schools in the future. While working on my doctoral studies at the University of Delaware, I will be looking at administration and policy issues at the organizational level. Using this broad base of knowledge and skills, I hope to serve as an educational leader, promoting the development of successful nursing professionals who provide excellent healthcare for future generations.

Public Health has always been an area of special interest to me. This field requires a working knowledge of public health policy and administration, as well as an ability to provide effective health care and educational interventions with a variety of clientele. My specific areas of interest in Public Health cover a variety of issues. I have been very concerned about and committed to the underprivileged and less fortunate members of society since my undergraduate experiences in Social Work. I also have a special interest in Adolescent Health issues. I have worked in various programs with teenagers, and I continue to see their unique needs in today's world. Peer pressure, lack of parenting role models, and poor media influences leave our young people in a vulnerable position.

Currently, I work as a Nurse Practitioner for the Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic in Wicomico County. There is a wide variety of clientele in this setting, crossing all socioeconomic classes, with many teenagers and young adults needing health care. My goal there is to meet the health care needs of the clients, while at the same time providing them the dignity, the individual attention, and the health education they need to make better health decisions in the future. There is room for improvement in policies and procedures used in this setting, and gaining an administrative background will help me to implement policy changes within this organization.

I also work in a variety of pediatric settings, providing health care services with Salisbury University nursing students. The issue of obesity in children has been increasing dramatically over the past several years, and there is a great need for successful intervention programs to assist parents and children with developing healthier lifestyles. This is an area where I plan to expand our nursing students' roles to provide educational, interactive, and fun programs with area families interested in adopting healthier lifestyles. Again, my ability to collaborate with various schools, day care centers, and health care agencies will be enhanced with the doctoral program preparation. Leadership skills, as well as administrative skills will be needed to facilitate the development of this program.

An additional area of interest for me involves the provision of health screening services for children in the tri-county area. Because of the rural nature of the three local counties, many children do not get to their pediatricians for their routine physical exams. This means that there is often no opportunity for the physicians to see the children, and therefore, no opportunity to screen for potential health problems. Basic vision and hearing problems can be minimized, or cured completely, if caught at an early stage. Developmental delays may be minimized if recognized and treated immediately and appropriately. My intent is to expand the strategies within the university setting that will allow us to provide for additional health screenings for children in the tri-county area. Collaborative efforts with community leaders, various agencies, and local physicians will be required to make this idea a reality.