Welcome to Part 1 of our series “Vanguard Women on Their Second Careers.” We begin by featuring Emily Reynolds who considered her whole story when determining her career path to become a dermatology nurse practitioner.
“I really love how everyone at Vanguard Skin Specialists does their best for the patients,” Emily Reynolds offers as one of her favorite things about working at Vanguard Skin Specialists.
This statement easily applies to Emily also. As a Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP), Emily is able to focus on and specialize in skin. But it is more than that for her, “These things can be clues to what is going on inside the body. I approach each patient, each case in a holistic way.”
Emily’s desire to understand and improve things in a way that considers the whole story, the whole person, is not new to her. When she describes her life path, it is clear that Emily is a focused and active contributor in making sure her own life makes a positive impact on people and on the world.
Emily’s career in healthcare started in an administrative role as part of a company that provides international public healthcare. This took Emily to Afghanistan to be a part of efforts to rebuild the public health management system in that country.
“I enjoyed being a part of a highly-trained staff working on public health programs. My favorite parts of that job though were making site visits to hospitals and clinics, and seeing our work in action,” shares Emily.
Being an active participant in helping patients, while still being a part of giving back to the global community, is what led Emily to explore a career change. The fact that Emily and her family supported her father in his decision to pursue an education in medicine while she was growing up may have had some influence on her too.
These personal and career experiences, and the reflection on what she wanted next, led Emily to return to school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC). “I was inspired to have a clinical role in medicine and looked into studying to become a physician assistant, like my father. We pitched in more to work on our farm so that he could pursue his education,” says Emily. But it was ultimately an education to become a nurse practitioner and a two-year dermatology fellowship in Boston that launched her next career into family medicine and then dermatology.
Emily shares her reason for choosing to pursue a nurse practitioner career, “I originally wanted to work with Doctors Without Borders and they send nurse practitioners to the field. Life has sent me in a different direction with dermatology, but it is something I know I can always return to in the future.”
When the time came to find a home to establish her career as a DCNP, it was Vanguard Skin Specialists and Colorado that was the perfect fit for Emily and her husband.
Emily says, “I love the provider team at Vanguard. I am lucky to be treated as an equal by the doctors and the physician assistants. There is a mutual respect among the team for each other’s training and experience. We share advice and we trust each other. I feel at home here.”
As for living in Colorado, Emily and her husband have a shared love of the outdoors and of an active lifestyle. Emily shares, “I have family in the Vail valley and my husband has wanted to live in Colorado for years. We can get to our favorite outdoor activities easily where we live. We really like Colorado Springs!”
The desire to be in direct contact with patients and their care was something that crystallized for Emily while doing something she was already passionate about, helping others. As she explored how she was going to transition from administrator to provider, she considered several things. Emily looked at her finances and educational time commitments as well as how she would approach her research to prepare for this change.
“You budget your life, just as you would your finances,” says Emily. For her, that meant reading books about people in similar careers as the one she wanted. For example, she references a book by a physician working in a developing country. “As part of your research to make a career change, consider shadowing people in that career, read as much as you can and consider whether the time needed to make that change is going to provide you optimal job satisfaction” suggests Emily. “If more education will help you achieve your career goal, then it is worth investing in that education” adds Emily.
What’s next for Emily? It is clear she has found a place where she can settle into her career in a fulfilling way. “I hope to be able to be involved in the future,” Emily says about the mission trips at Vanguard Skin Specialists, such as the trip to support Healing Haiti. This unique connection between doing something that inspires and motivates Emily, along with a role that allows her to fully utilize her education and experience, allows Emily to see a future at Vanguard. Her patients are at the heart of what she does and why she does it. To live in a place you love, to do the work you want, and to be around colleagues that share your passion for patient care is the payoff for Emily and her journey that led her to this second career.
Emily and her husband, Keith, enjoy the outdoors.
Vanguard Skin Specialists is dedicated to helping medical providers live out fulfilling careers. If you want to learn more about joining the Vanguard team, go to https://www.vanguardskin.com/about-us/join-us/.