Breanne Vasquez

PMHNP Certificate, '22G
Breanne Vasquez
Broad Shoulders - 

Mother of four and wife of a career infantry service member, Breanne Vasquez has managed the family household singlehandedly during her husband’s multiple deployments while holding down a full-time job and pursuing her own academic studies. This challenging combination underscores her strength, independence, and an understated modesty about the grit and perseverance necessary to succeed in so many life roles.

Originally a computer programmer, Breanne tried several other job avenues before committing to the pursuit of an Associate’s degree in nursing as she raised three children. She subsequently earned an online bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas while adding a fourth child to the family. Nursing post-surgery patients with the Trauma ICU Unit at Bay Medical Center in Florida inspired Vasquez to complete an MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

As a school nurse in Colorado Springs, Vasquez was responsible for managing medical needs for students ranging from age five to eighteen in a district largely populated by military families with children who required an elevated level of medical care. As a mother, Breanne faced the diagnosis and long-term treatment of a family member exhibiting a cerebrovascular disorder. Several years ago the Vasquez family moved to rural New Hampshire where Breanne accepted a position as Epilepsy Nurse Practitioner at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Witnessing a multiplicity of medical conditions at school, clinic and home, Breanne realized the enormity of unmet mental health needs as a critical component of wellness.

"Due to an historic bias against mental healthcare, patients who exhibit neurological symptoms without evidence of an underlying neurological condition often wait years to be diagnosed and treated. This tremendous need shaped my resolve to bridge the gap between psychology and neurology. My ultimate goal is to advocate for evidence-based research and encourage a more open and fluid attitude toward treatment so that patients receive the best possible care."

Captivated by this professional challenge, Breanne explored numerous mental health study programs. Attracted by the UNH curriculum and the flexibility of remote education, she enrolled in the online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) graduate certificate program and graduated in 2022.

"The online UNH program posts each course syllabus up-front so I mapped out my study schedule by week. Their staff collaborated with the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Training Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center who arranged my internships and preceptors. Recorded role playing helped me both refine my diagnostic approach and boost my self-confidence as a practitioner. The group activities brought my cohort together and we started a Facebook page to remain in contact after graduation. I highly recommend the UNH online program because they offer a unique perspective on mental health that has brought my nursing skills to a new level of excellence."

Now retired from military service, her husband has more time to devote to family needs but, with the broad shoulders of a working mother, Vasquez sees no reason to slow down. Neurology patients benefit from her empathy and psychiatric understanding as well as her strong but understated commitment to their well-being.

To paraphrase the words of a well-known neurologist, Breanne says, “when words are not available, our bodies speak for us.”

                                                                                                                                Written by Gwendolyn Goguelet, UNH Online