Jennifer Miller loves to travel. But, while global travel is a much-loved pastime, she is passionate about her academic voyages.
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Nursing, Jen, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), is forging ahead with an online Post-Masters Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Certificate, expecting to graduate from UNH in July 2020. She also hopes to eventually earn a PhD and pave the way to becoming an educator herself.
“My ideas are bigger than my schedule!” declares Jen with a wide smile. “I love to learn, to grow, to expand. I would be happy as a full-time student.”
Although she treats all ages, Jen especially enjoys working with children and adolescents. She wants to lay the foundation for their future by helping them solve their current mental health issues. “I am a natural problem solver.”
Miller references studies that claim a child who experiences a positive connection with even one person can improve their resiliency in the future, a sobering but enlightening thought about the value of intervention.
Jen uses telemedicine to treat patients of all ages who call from home, work, business trips, and vacations. She eagerly supports this contemporary communication method because it improves access to mental health care.
Jen’s next career goal is integrative mental health, which encompasses a blend of counseling, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and medical management. She encapsulates the concept on a high level as “the use of her talents, education, and skills to help others rediscover their health and live out their dreams”.
Asked about the common risk of burnout, Jen says she takes her cue from her father’s advice as a counselor: “Figure out what you can and cannot control, then work with what you can”.
Jennifer carefully researched online programs across the country before enrolling at UNH. Aside from the targeted curriculum content, she appreciates the schedule flexibility, the self-paced learning and the eight-week class segments that allow students to quickly and efficiently move through the program.
But the deciding factor in selecting UNH was her contact with the faculty. “Dr. Margaret Shepard is authentic and totally vested in her students. Speaking with her made my choice easy.”
Miller’s decision to pursue a further degree mirrors her confidence and proactive style: “I think about the investment of time and the systems I have in place to manage the balance of school, work, and family. And I have learned when to say no.”
Where to next? South America, Belize, perhaps a return to her favorite spot - Italy. Or, some other place she has not yet visited. The fun is in the discovery. As Jen says, a fulfilling life is about creating a balance.