Michelle Pry Isacson, MSN, WHNP-BC, APN, teaches NR-321 Maternal-Child Nursing and NR-360 Informatics at Chamberlain’s Addison campus.
What is your specialty?
What drew you to that specialty? How did you get started in that area?
While going through nursing school, a friend was undergoing fertility evaluation and treatment and would frequently ask me questions. My research into the topic initially sparked my interest in Gynecology. As a student in Maternal-Child Nursing, I was assigned to follow a high risk patient throughout her pregnancy. I would attend her prenatal visits and provided related education afterwards. This experience solidified my desire to pursue OB/GYN nursing.
Prior to pursuing a nursing career, I had wanted to become a physician. However, at the time, physicians were treating the disease and not the patient as a whole. I explored other options and discovered the career of a nurse practitioner.
As a nurse practitioner, I have the freedom to treat the entire patient. This not only includes a patient’s physical health but also how her environment and other factors may impact her medical condition and treatment. For example, to tell a Hispanic woman who lives with two generations, cooks and eats traditional foods, and is on a very limited income to follow a diabetic diet by restricting her carbohydrates is not realistic. I have the ability to explore other options.
The best part of my specialty is being able to provide healthcare to women that aligns with my philosophy of practice, and as an educator, the opportunity to share my passion with others.
Describe your work experience.
I have been a nurse since 1995 and a Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner since 1999. I have worked in general obstetrics/gynecology offices and with reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists. I am also certified as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Registered Nurse First Assistant. In addition to clinical practice and academia, I have also conducted research and practiced as a legal nurse consultant.
Prior to nursing, I obtained a degree in educational and counseling psychology. This degree has proven invaluable throughout my career and life.
Throughout your career, has there been a patient or a story that has stuck with you?
I have had the fortune to be touched by so many. I have shared in the joys of pregnancy, childbirth and personal accomplishments but also the grief and heartache of loss.
One theme that always prevails is the importance of taking time to listen to and educate your patients. While doing an annual exam on a woman, I was talking about diet, exercise and preventative testing. She was four years overdue for a colonoscopy and stated she did not need one because she had no family history and took great care of herself. Upon further questioning, I discovered that she was scared to have the test because of the stories she had heard. I referred her to a physician that I knew she would feel comfortable with. One month after seeing her, she called to tell me that colon cancer was found on her colonoscopy and to thank me for taking the time with her, stressing the importance of the test and referring her to someone she liked.
The simple acts of listening and education go so far.
What would you say you’ve been most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the positive impact that I have had on the care and education of others.
What is your advice to students?
Come to class prepared so you can participate and clarify the information that you do not know. Utilize the resources of the Center for Academic Success (CAS) and ask your instructor for guidance. My goal, as an instructor, is for you to be successful, and I will do everything I can to help you achieve that goal.