Featured NP: Ferdie Dijoto
The important role Nurse Practitioners (NPs) play only grows as the rights of NPs change. NPs are leaving a global impact by treating patients in other countries who wouldn’t normally have access to the kind of comprehensive healthcare an NP can provide. Ferdie Dijoto understands the need for better access to medical care first-hand, and if she gets her way, NPs will play an even bigger role in providing that care.
1. We know you’re originally from Africa. When did you move to the United States and why?
I am originally from Cameroon (West-central Africa) and my prior education was in French. I moved to the United States of America 15 years ago for a better future and standard of living for my family and me.
2. Tell us what it was like growing up with a father who is a Physician Assistant.
Growing up with a father who played a huge role in helping people with their healthcare issues was extremely inspiring. My grandmother also inspired me. She was a dedicated midwife. Most evenings and weekends, many of our neighbors waited on my father in my childhood home for assistance with their acute and chronic health issues. He joyfully helped everyone (mostly for free). His work ethic and his love for the work he did were contagious and selfless. Growing up with him, I always prayed to have the same energy, drive and dedication to help people in need.
3. What made you decide to pursue a career as an NP?
When I graduated from high school in Cameroon, there was only one medical school. Due to this limitation, it was a widely known fact that the admission process for the only medical school was corrupted and reserved only for famous and wealthy families. I applied twice but was unsuccessful despite being a qualified candidate. I was extremely disappointed. Following the advice of my college counselor, I majored in biochemistry with the hope to work in medical research upon graduation. During my second year in college, I also volunteered with non-profit organizations for the fight against Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS). I spent most weekends traveling to many villages educating the population about HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). When I moved to the USA, I worked as a research assistant. However, there was no fulfillment. I always felt like something was missing. After taking a few pre-requisites, I was admitted at Georgetown University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I worked as a critical care nurse, clinical informaticist and a performance improvement/quality nurse. However, the following motivated me to want to become an NP: – I am always eager to learn more because, in nursing, opportunities for personal and professional betterment are endless. – The U.S. population is aging, living longer and in need of more primary care services and providers. – I also want to become a change agent to help reform the healthcare system and bridge the healthcare gap in Cameroon.
4. What is your favorite part about being an NP?
There are several reasons I like being an NP. My favorite part is building long-lasting relationships with my patients. Also, I like the emphasis on healthcare prevention including holistic health education. When a person is treated as a whole, it leads to increased compliance and better outcomes.
5. What do you hope to do or see within your profession in the next 10 years?
NPs are compassionate, caring, skilled and capable of diagnosing and treating many acute and chronic conditions. I am hoping that NPs in the State of Oklahoma (just like 21 other states in our country) will have gained full prescriptive authority within the full scope of their practice. NPs are well educated, trained and ready to work independently from physicians. My personal goal is to graduate in two years with a Clinical Doctorate of Nursing from Oklahoma City University, work to gain more experience, be a part of health care policymakers and open my own clinic.
6. Tell us about the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your practice.
It is always a blessing to see patients recover from an illness or healthcare crisis, or seeing patients motivated to adopt healthy choices in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
7. What would you like to say to someone considering a career as an NP?
Go for it. The sooner, the better. There are many ways to impact the patients that entrust their healthcare needs to us. This also impacts the community in which we live in. In light of the global impact NPs can make, it’s more important than ever that our legislators give NPs the right to practice without the oversight of a physician. Change agents like Ferdie are the catalysts we need to advance the field and allow us to make a difference not only abroad, but also in our own backyard.