Kristie Rushing

What do you think of when you think of Mississippi? Most people think about Elvis Presley, the birthplace of the Blues, and good food. Some may think of negative things like inequality, poor access to health care, and the fact that we were voted 50th by Becker’s Hospital Review in ‘50 States Ranked from Healthiest to Unhealthiest.’

When I think of Mississippi, I think of home, and all the people I serve as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

I chose to be a nurse practitioner because of the awesome experience I had growing up. I could rarely get an appointment with my family physician because of the large number of patients he had to see so I ended up seeing the nurse practitioner.

The NP’s office was covered in artwork drawn by children and thank you notes from various patients he had cared for. He was kind, compassionate, and knowledgeable. He seemed to be everyone’s favorite and proved to be much more to me around my 24th birthday.

I was having drenching night sweats and was a single mother to a 4-year-old little girl.

I decided to make an appointment with the nurse practitioner I’d known and trusted as a child. That was the best decision I could have ever made.

He performed a thorough physical assessment, ordered a chest x-ray, and ordered a CT scan of my chest soon after. I was admitted to the hospital that same day eventually being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was admitted to the hospital nearly septic due to post-obstructive pneumonia caused by the large tumor in my chest that was partially obstructing my lungs.

That nurse practitioner helped save my life and inspired me to become one as well.

My point is this. Nurse practitioners are valuable and knowledgeable. There is a shortage of healthcare providers in Mississippi creating a deficit in patient care and there is a supply of nurse practitioners who are trained to care for them.

I humbly ask for support of House Bill 1303. All the people of Mississippi deserve access to health care, and they deserve to be known for their positive qualities rather than their negative health outcomes.

We have the ability to change that. Let’s keep singing the blues and cooking the best barbecue while improving the health of all Mississippians by voting yes to House Bill 1303.

Kristie Rushing, MSN, APRN, FNP-C
Hattiesburg, Mississippi