NP week 21

National Nurse Practitioner Week is held annually to celebrate these exceptional health care providers and to remind lawmakers of the importance of removing outdated barriers to practice so nurse practitioners (NPs) will be allowed to practice to the full extent of their experience and education.

We’re proud to feature a few of our outstanding #HuskyNurse NP students and alumni. Read more about them.

Eliot Balogh

Graduation Year/Track: DNP ’19/Adult-Gerontology Acute Care

What do you do as a NP? I work with the inpatient advanced heart failure and transplant team at UWMC. We care for patients with end stage heart failure, evaluate candidates who may be eligible for advanced therapies such as LVAD or heart transplant and provide postoperative care to fresh transplants after they transfer out of the cardiothoracic ICU.

Why did you choose to be a NP? Like most of us, I entered the nursing field with a love of science and working with people. I decided to become an NP because I wanted increased autonomy and decision making and to be more directly involved in the management of complex diseases.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN? I had the pleasure of going through to program with my wife. My most memorable moment was watching her defend her capstone, culminating almost a decade of hard work in the pursuit of helping others.

Any advice for future NPs? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The best new providers are the ones that can recognize when they don’t know something and ask for help.

Catherine Bardsley

Grad Year/Track: DNP ’21/Track: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care

What do you do as a NP? I work in acute care cardiology at UWMC where I float between different cardiology services both at NW and Montlake campuses, more recently working in the cardiac CCU and ICU.

Catherine Bardsley DNP ’20

Why did you choose to be a NP? I worked in critical care for several years and loved continually learning and growing in the profession of nursing. I decided to get my DNP at UW because I knew I wanted to get an advanced degree, stay in acute/critical care, and continue to work with patients! I think nurse practitioners make a huge impact in care delivery by providing excellent evidence-based care with an added holistic and individualized approach.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN? So many! All of us being so nervous about our first standardized patients and then starting our first clinical rotations. The fun we had in skills lab with all the procedures; inserting chest tubes in pork ribs and all! None of us will forget transitioning last minute to defending our doctoral projects via zoom as the global pandemic unraveled. And… of course the amazing friendships I made during my time at UW SoN!

Any advice for future NPs? Yes! Believe in yourself, practice self-care and positive self-talk! Utilize study groups, they are life-saving and so much fun! Take each day as it comes, you can and will get through graduate studies!

Melissa Bird

Grad Year/Track: DNP ’23/Adult Gerontology Acute Care

Melissa Bird, DNP ’23

Why do you want to be a NP?  I was a care manager for a long time and saw the impacts of health inequity on my patients. I choose to be a NP because I wanted to do more for them, and make changes to the system so it is easier for patients to access the care that they need, especially around a hospitalization.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN?  Since we did our first year via zoom, to walk on campus this year was a great moment.  Seeing all the other students, the beautiful campus, the stadium lit up at night, really felt special after being away for the first year.

Any advice for future NP students? I would encourage anyone who is thinking about it to attend the information sessions. You can learn a lot about what they are looking for in your application and about the program as a whole.  


Sarah Kim

Grad Year/Track:  DNP ’23/Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 

Why do you want to be a NP? I currently work in a community mental health clinic where I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is for underserved populations to get access to treatment and how society works against those with mental illness. I want to be a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner because our community needs nurse leaders who are knowledgeable about the systemic barriers to access and how to build and promote systems that allow for effective care across the continuum of care.

Sarah Kim DNP ’23

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN?
During orientation, we had a diversity activity over Zoom due to the pandemic. This activity was the first time that I felt like I was encouraged to talk about how I’ve been affected by microaggressions and marginalization. It was a cathartic experience being able to reflect and talk about my own experiences and to listen to the experiences of other students and professors.

Any advice for future NP students? Make friends in your NP program! Grad school’s been so much more enjoyable because I’ve made some great friends to study with. The classes are challenging, and having the support of your peers can be invaluable. There are also lots of great restaurants and things to try around campus together!

Sun Kim

Grad Year/Track: DNP ’22/Adult-Gerontology Acute Care

Sun Kim DNP 22

Why do you want to be a NP? I felt aspired to become a nurse practitioner while I was working in an ICU. The critical care setting presents unique challenges to nurses. One of them is critical thinking and problem solving skills. Providers rely on nurses to take care of critically ill patients, and we are trusted to quickly come up with solutions to issues that could possibly lead to life-threatening events. I thoroughly enjoyed using my scope of practice as a nurse to the fullest, and I desired to acquire more knowledge and skills to take care of patients as well as to function as an effective member in the multidisciplinary team. It was rather natural process to think about transition into the provider role for this reason.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN?  I have so many memories with SoN, but one thing I will cherish for the rest of my life is my time as a teaching assistant at the Simulation Learning Center at SoN. I was hired into this role while school as a whole was having to transitioning to online learning format due to the pandemic. The Simulation Center traditionally rely on hands-on and in-person learning environments, and we were challenged to come up with ways to create virtual simulation learning opportunities for students. We were providing students role-play simulation on Zoom for a little over year for this reason, and I would like to believe that I was able to contribute somewhat to the students’ learning experience and to their future as wonderful nurses by comping up with various scenarios and topics. The students I was so privileged to encounter were all so amazing and took this learning method very sincerely. I could clearly see how much progress each one of them has made over the course of a year, and I was truly humbled and touched to be able to witness their growth.

Any advice for future NP students? I always tell my students, It is going to be okay! I could do it, you could do it too. I truly stand by this statement. As students (and as nurses) we always tend to think and plan ahead, and we end up overwhelming ourselves. It does not serve anyone any good by doing so. Taking one thing and one day at a time would be my advice! Otherwise, there is just way too much to worry about. But again, you will be fine. I already know it ;) Good luck!

Solee Lim

Grad Year/Track: DNP ’23/Psychiatric Mental Health

Solee Lim, DNP ’23

Why do you want to be a NP? Over the years, I have learned that nurses can have a powerful impact not only on patients’ lives but also on the lives of their families and by extension, on entire communities. I have the utmost desire and passion for pursuing a Doctorate degree to leave the biggest footprint possible in the industry. People matter to me  and I want to ensure that I continue to broaden my knowledge and perspective so that I can be as prepared as possible.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN? When I was preparing for the DNP program, I wasn’t quite sure about a few steps of the application process and sometimes felt stuck as it was my first time preparing for a graduate program. So, I contacted SoN and every response I received from them helped me figure out the next step, which gave me the assurance I was on the right track. And, the most unforgettable moment with SoN was definitely when I got the acceptance letter to the DNP program. I can never forget the day I received the email as I was thrilled to start a new journey.

Any advice for future NP students? I want to say mental and physical preparation can go a long way before school starts. Many NP students, including myself, have been out of the school system for a while. NP school is not easy, and it will take up a good chunk of your time. It took me almost an entire quarter to get used to studying again. Reading a couple of hundred pages, preparing for class, and participating in group work requires lots of time and energy. You can start listening to broadcasts or audiobooks on general NP materials to equip your mindset back to student mode. Earlier you are mentally and physically ready to be back in student mode, the easier it becomes to adapt to the DNP program!

Jonny Medina

Grad Year/Track: DNP ’18/Family Nurse 

Jonny Medina, DNP ’18

What do you do as a NP? I am a Cardiovascular Genetics Nurse Practitioner at the University of Washington Medical Center.  I work with patients and families who have inherited cardiomyopathies, and with persons with aortic aneurysms due to connective tissue disorders. I cross the realm of medical genetics and cardiology and love that I get to work with entire families in a very specialized setting.

Why did you choose to be a NP? I chose to become an NP because I wanted to gain more knowledge and expertise in medicine in a way that could allow me to collaborate with patients in helping them achieve their health goals. I love being in a role of educator, advocate, and motivator and found that I could do all of those things and do my part to tackle the enormity of health disparity as an NP.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN?  I had the most amazing clinical preceptors at the UW SoN. It’s hard to choose one particular moment! I think my rural rotation as a whole was such a meaningful experience. I was able to learn first-hand the barriers that persons in rural areas face in low resource settings that are not as evident in urban settings. It was eye-opening and motivated me to improve access to my patients who live in rural settings and advocate for them as best as I can from this urban oasis.

Any advice for future NPs? Medicine is a team sport, never be afraid to reach out and keep asking questions for the rest of your career!

Desiree Wood

Grad Year/Track:  DNP ’15/Adult-Gerontology Acute Care

What do you do as a NP? I am a nurse practitioner at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle, WA. I have worked as an Acute Care Nurse practitioner in the medical and cardiac intensive care unit since 2015 after I received my DNP from the UW SON. I  also teach clinical seminar for the Acute Care DNP cohorts.

Desiree Wood, DNP ’15

Why did you choose to be a NP? As a nurse we have an opportunity to help change patients and family lives. Pursuing a  DNP allowed me to obtain the leadership and evidence based experience to work to the highest degree of my nurse licensure.

Do you have an unforgettable moment during your time at SoN? So many great memories. One of my closest adult friendships occurred during DNP school.  I am incredibly grateful for that. Also my clinicals at Harborview Medical Center in the Neuro ICU was intense.

Any advice for future NPs? My biggest advice to future NP’s is to diversify your portfolio. Keep learning and know that you may switch jobs many times during your career. It’s ok to not work in the hospital or clinic, there are so many jobs that NPs can do. If this pandemic has taught me anything is that change and uncertainty are a part of this job and life, it’s our job to understand that and empower our peers. Also, you must take care of yourself! Burnout is real and takes a toll. I work hard but I also take time to be off for family and friends.