Kendra Hooper, DNP, PMHNP-BC
So, despite a nursing background in neonatal ICU care, I decided to apply and start down the path of psychiatric nursing, and now I couldn’t be more grateful that I decided to take that leap into the psychiatric world. I have come to understand that mental health and physical health are inseparable. I strive to make my patients feel heard, valued, and respected. I treat patients from a holistic and humanitarian perspective, working to see each individual as a whole person within a unique context rather than as a list of symptoms to be treated.
Mental healthcare is so much more than medication, and I believe in the power of therapy, trauma-resolution, and mindfulness practice to improve well being alongside medication as needed. I hope that through my approach I can provide informed, sensitive healthcare that leads patients to more fulfilled, happier lives.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work in healthcare. It was my childhood dream to become a pediatrician, and I set my sights on medical school for much of middle and high school. However, this goal evolved when my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. Seeing the compassionate care and emotional support that my father’s nurses provided to him and to my family day in and day out guided my decision to attend the University of Memphis Lowenberg School of Nursing.
Upon graduation, I began my career as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse at Regional One Health in Memphis. Although the work was challenging and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the babies and their families, I still felt something was missing. I wanted to extend my reach as a caregiver. I started researching specialty nurse practitioner programs and found The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner track. While mental health was certainly already on my radar – I had always considered myself an advocate for therapy and psychiatry – it was the first time I had seen a direct route to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner where I would be able to capitalize on my knack for care giving, my passion for the medical profession and training as a nurse, and my desire to directly impact the well being of my patients.