Tai Slyne (PMNHP 2019)
"If you are full within, you have plenty to give others by helping, listening, guiding. I live my calling and it is my joy to serve."
Born to Nigerian parents living in England, most of Tai Slyne’s immediate family work in the medical field. Although her original goal was to become a physician, the family purse could not afford multiple siblings to attend medical school simultaneously. Drawing inspiration from her mother’s model in community health and midwifery, Slyne enrolled in nursing school and she has since traveled many facets of nursing avenues in Nigeria, England, and the United States.
After earning an RN degree from Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, Slyne completed a BS in Clinical Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University, an MS in Family Nursing from UNH, a DNP from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and, most recently, a Post Master’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate from UNH Online. Married to an American citizen, Tai emigrated to the United States in 1989 where she has worked with Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic, Elliot Hospital, and Catholic Medical Center in several roles, including RN, midwife, case utilization manager, and Family Nurse Practitioner.
Slyne started her own practice as FNP in 2016 at Amodeus Healthcare & Psychiatric Services where she provides dual care to patients with mental health needs and addiction issues, offering appointments both in her office and through telehealth. She also counsels COVID battle-weary doctors, nurses, and dentists in a discreet environment to maintain their confidentiality. A warm smile reflects her excitement at being featured among top-quality providers in New Hampshire in a CNN news piece that uses patient interviews as part of their assessment.
"Under severe stress, people do not always recognize their own inner reserves; I try to tap into that strength to help them build a recovery. My training in medical and mental healthcare has prepared me to work with the whole person and having my own practice allows me the freedom to provide care without prescribed time constraints."
An alumnus of the UNH Online PHMNP program, Tai appreciated the self-paced, asynchronous classes that allow time to read and reflect on the material while benefitting from the ongoing, lively exchange between students and faculty. The campus visits afford opportunities to meet the faculty and cohort and cement supportive professional relationships.
Invited to teach a UNH Online PMHNP course, Slyne benefitted from her student experience to create multi-media teaching materials that appeal to the many different ways that people learn. A firm believer that adversity can be a “disguised blessing”, she approached her students not only as a teacher but also as a cheerleader during the tough times of a pandemic.
"I love school and believe that teaching is the mother of creativity. Students intimidated by the idea of sitting for a certification exam can be devastated if they do not pass so I read up on the exam topics and develop corresponding questions for course discussion. This practice opportunity helps build their confidence for the state exam."
Her affinity for travel temporarily stymied by the pandemic, Slyne talks about her dual purpose in visiting developing countries: as an FNP she speaks with refugees about their medical and mental health needs; as a Christian, she encourages them to use uncertainty as an opportunity to build a new life. Tai is proud of her work on a study that details the struggle of refugees navigating the western system of healthcare while facing the multiple challenges of cultural and language barriers.
Inspired by the death of a cancer patient, Slyne performed a pilot study that demonstrated that educational intervention of Nurse Practitioners can significantly improve both patient knowledge and participation in colorectal cancer screening. Co-authored by Ramraj Gauta and Valerie King, the study was published as Colorectal Cancer Screening: An Educational Intervention for Nurse Practitioners to Increase Screening Awareness and Participation.
Tai points out that, while the MD degree is accepted nationwide, rules governing FNPs are determined on a state-by-state basis. A nurse practitioner who moves to another state frequently encounters roadblocks and additional costs beyond standard licensing. Although New Hampshire law allows her to practice independently, Slyne would like to see national nursing education standards to give the FNP degree the same national acceptance as the MD.
Although the goodwill she receives from patients is inspiring, Slyne is meticulous about self-care through quiet mediation, nature walks and spending time with her family, including a daughter who has followed Tai’s path to nursing. The most rejuvenating activity, however, is the physical joy of dancing to live music as a counterweight to the week’s demands.
"I like to go dancing with my older, wiser women friends who have discovered the key to happiness. They dance the dance of life with all its laughter and love. Everything we do should come from the heart."
Written by Gwendolyn Goguelet