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Interview with Brett Badgley Snodgrass, Family Nurse Practitioner

Brett Badgley Snodgrass is a practicing Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in Family Practice, Pain Management and Palliative Care, a national speaker and award winning health care blogger, who’s known as The NP Mom. She is passionate about health education, whether it’s 1 on 1 with a patient or student, in a lecture hall or conference, or online as The NP Mom. Her warm and engaging personality puts everyone at ease as they learn more about health.

Brett has received numerous awards, and serves on several pharmaceutical and medical advisory boards. She earned both a master’s and BS degree from the University of Memphis. She is a Clinical Expert and Guest Lecturer for CORE REMS LA/ER Chronic Opioid Safe Prescribing, the spokeswoman for “Know Your Dose” Acetaminophen Awareness, and American Association of Nurse Practitioner national conference speaker, just to name a few.

Active in social media, Brett is an award winning health care blogger offering “answers to questions, patients often forget to ask” with titles ranging from “To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate – That is The Question, to “A Day In The Life Of A Nurse Practitioner”, to “I’m So Tired – Treating Fatigue Naturally.” She amplifies her reach through Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress with more than 5,000 readers each month.

What event or series of events led you to pursue nursing as a professional choice?

Brett Badgley SnodgrassGrowing up, my mom worked in nursing homes and rules were not what they are today. As a young girl, I was able to follow the nurses and other staff members around and watch them care for the elderly patients on a day to day basis; and I loved it. I would help in the kitchen, deliver meals when they were ready, help the nurses turn patients, even help housekeeping clean their rooms. There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do. I do not remember a time that I did not want to go into nursing.

Name 1 or 2 specific challenges you have faced in your career in nursing and the steps you took to overcome them?

The most significant challenge currently is to remove supervisory language from current legislation in the state of TN, so nurse practitioners are free to practice without a supervising physicians. We have not achieved this YET, but we are currently working on ways we can do this. I am the current TN APRN Committee Chair and we are making progress.

Another challenge has been nurse practitioners working in pain management. There are not many that really want to do it, and few that know how to do it – because education has been minimal in all disciplines (physicians, NP and PA programs). Because my background has been in Hospice, Palliative Care and Pain Management, I have taken the opportunities the educate myself in this arena – joining the appropriate associations, continuing education, as well as working with a Palliative Care Certified physician. This has opened doors for me to become an expert in the area of pain management. I now speak and teach nationally on the subject, as well as being expert faculty for the CORE REMS program on ER/LA Opioid Prescribing with the American Association of Pain Management. I am also a committee chair for the TN Chronic Opioid Task Force, writing guidelines for safe opioid prescribing in the state of TN.

Can you give us an example of an interesting case or project that you have worked on and your role in helping to achieve a positive outcome?

As I stated above, I have been honored to be committee chair for the TN Chronic Opioid Task Force, writing guidelines for safe opioid prescribing in the state of TN. This has been a collaborative effort among TN physicians, NPs, PAs, pharmacists, DEA representatives and law enforcement. With TN being #2 in opioid prescribing in the US, it was imperative that we come together and create guidelines for safe and appropriate prescribing. These guidelines are still in draft form, and there is still work to be done. I am eager to see opioid abuse and overdose decrease as a result of our efforts. While appropriate patients, deserve appropriate pain management; we as prescribers must be equipped with tools for safe prescribing.

Can you describe what a typical day looks like for you or the activities you spend the most time on at work?

I live a crazy life, and every day is often very different. Due to my hectic speaking and teaching schedule, I never know where I may wake up from one day to the next. But, on clinic days my focus is on my patients. My practice is made up of about 60% family practice patients, where I serve as their Primary Care Provider and 40% is made up of Pain Management/Palliative Care referrals. I see between 15-25 patients per day. It is a fast paced clinic of patient care, treating patients, fielding phone calls/emails of patient needs, talking with insurance companies, etc. Lunch time (when it exists) is answering emails from my other life as an NP speaker, teacher, my work with AANP, my work as President of Greater Memphis Area Advanced Practice Nurses, or my blog The NP Mom – and many other activities which present themselves. Then, I go home and focus on my family. When all are in bed – I often times pick up where I left off with emails, powerpoints, articles, etc.

What aspects of your work do you enjoy the most?

I love my patients – jumping through hoops with insurance, pharmacies, etc can make that very trying. Currently, I would say my most favorite aspect is speaking and teaching nationally. I love to travel, but I love short trips because I miss my family immensely when I am gone. My husband has been instrumental in helping me maintain this crazy travel schedule, as he is an amazing father and fills my shoes beautifully at home.

What advice would you give to new graduates for getting hired after graduation?

I would tell them to find a practice and/or specialty they will love even on the bad days, because unfortunately those days come. Be passionate about your work, and if you aren’t find something else. Just do what you love! I cannot imagine doing anything else, and when you do what you love – it shows!

What is the key strength you bring to your career and how would you advise new graduates to mine their own strengths to further their careers?

I was brought up with a strong worth ethic, give 110% to whatever you do. You will be recognized for doing that. Don’t say I can’t do this or that, give it try – you probably can. Figure it out and stand out from the crowd!

We’d like to thank Brett for being so generous with her time and sharing her insights and advice with our readers. You can learn more about Brett Badgley Snodgrass at her blog, The NP Mom.