Winnemucca Family Nurse Practitioner Jeremy Hurst has been accepted to Duke University for advanced training as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. The psychology and psychiatry courses and clinical will take close to 18 months, starting this January.
He plans to continue working in HGH’s Rural Clinic throughout his training, although it will require some adjustments and scheduling. He said he and his family plan to stay in Winnemucca after he completes the new training as well.
When finished, Hurst will be board certified as a mid-level provider — a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
“It is a stringent qualification process,” Hurst told the Humboldt General Hospital board. “I’ll have to understand neuro biology, neuro psychology and neuro psychiatry. I’ll have to understand a whole new group and classification of medications.”
“Family medicine is very general and psychiatry is very specific,” Hurst said. He added that he believes his background in family practice, added to his military background, will give him additional understanding of the new patient population he will be working with as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
“I think it’s exciting, an opportunity to provide something our community very much needs,” Hurst told hospital board members. They agreed.
Board member Richard Cook, who has been a licensed social worker, said there is a great need locally for medical providers who are qualified to manage psychiatric medications.
Hurst said he was motivated to engage the extra training by Humboldt County’s high suicide rate. “It is so sad to see young people commit suicide here; life shouldn’t be that way and I think with a little help, maybe it wouldn’t be,” he said. He mentioned seeing area veterans struggling too.
“I have a hard time seeing people in Winnemucca who have to be referred out,” Hurst said. “In some cases, I’ve had patients who have had to move out of the community to Reno or Las Vegas because they needed follow-up psychiatric care with labs and medications and they just couldn’t do it here.”
Hurst chose Duke University out of several programs that accepted him. He explained that Duke’s program director had committed to arranging some clinical sites for him that will give him some amazing experience.
“They have included North Carolina’s largest veteran’s clinic, as well as Duke Pediatric Psychology and Psychiatry, which is there inside Duke’s pediatric hospital,” Hurst said. “I think I’m going to have the opportunity to see more worst-case scenarios in a larger health-care system so I can bring that knowledge and experience back to Winnemucca.”