Jonas V Nurse Leader Scholar

Kirsten Dickins, MSN, AM, RN

Rush University
PhD Student

My name is Kirsten Dickins, and I am a PhD student and Family Nurse Practitioner Rush University. I entered the field of nursing in a somewhat non-traditional manner. After coming to better understand the fields psychology, sociology, and political science during my undergraduate studies at DePaul University, I then completed a Master's program in clinical social work at the University of Chicago. Through my internships and coursework as a social worker in-training, my interest in the biopsychosocial aspects of health and well-being expanded. I realized that in order to maximally serve both individual and population health, a better knowledge and skill base in the biological elements of health would be necessary. I shortly thereafter began an accelerated nursing program, and next entered a Family Nurse Practitioner program—excited about the opportunity to prepare myself as a primary care provider. It is my intent to use the knowledge and abilities that I have developed to work with underserved patients to promote long-term health and wellness. I have a particular interest in research in chronic disease prevention and management. Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between physical activity and cognition – or cognitive health—among patients with increasingly common chronic issues, such as hypertension and obesity. I look forward to a nursing career wedding the worlds of academic research, community-based primary care, and didactic and clinical instruction. In so doing, I hope to comprehensively promote patient well-being through the primary prevention and most effective management of chronic diseases via education and healthy lifestyles.