Nurse Practitioner Marina Shields completes doctorate degree 

During her childhood, Marina Shields, DNP, PMHNP-BC, listened to her great-grandmother talk about her nursing career. Those stories inspired her to become a nurse herself and land a position at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.  

“She was a big staple in my life growing up,” Marina says. “She was a Native American orphan and grew up facing adversity. She returned to nursing school later after raising her children, which is inspiring. Her husband, my great-grandfather, was a veteran with severe PTSD, so mental health was something she was in tune with. She demonstrated empathy, compassion, and determination.”   

Marina decided to become a nurse and most recently received a Doctor of Nursing (Practice) degree from Washburn University.  

Marina’s nursing studies began at Labette Community College. She was also a patient of the CHC/SEK Parsons Clinic.  

“I just remember walking through the clinic thinking it was very clean, people were very nice, and I remember thinking that I could see myself working here someday,” she says.  

Marina then left southeast Kansas to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Emporia State University before returning to work for CHC/SEK.   

Although she originally planned to move away from southeast Kansas, Marina was drawn back. She’s glad she did because she planned to become a pediatric oncology nurse in Wichita through a pandemic while studying for grad school.   

“Moving back home was the best move for me,” she says. “Giving back to the community that shaped me has been extremely rewarding.”  

When Marina began working at CHC/SEK in 2019, she worked with Robin Reitz, APRN, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.   

“When I first started my grad program for nurse practitioner school, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a family nurse practitioner or a psychiatric nurse practitioner,” Marina says. “It was within six months while working with Robin that I solidified I wanted to do psych.”  

Marina’s role at CHC/SEK is to help patients who need psychiatric mental health medications. The clinic takes a collaborative approach, working closely with the patient’s other healthcare providers, such as a psychologist or licensed master’s social worker.   

“That’s one of the best parts, being able to collaborate between therapy and medication management to see if the patient is progressing, if they are progressing, and adjust the best way to care for them,” she says. Marina sees patients aged six and older living with general anxiety, depression, grief, substance abuse, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other behavioral health issues.   

Marina says her ultimate goal is to be a safe place for people to get the healthcare they need.   

“It’s rewarding, to say the least; I get emotional just thinking about it,” she says. “I always said that I wouldn’t likely be able to provide the care that patients need elsewhere, but I can here at CHC/SEK because of the resources available. A quote that sticks with me a lot is, ‘Be the person you needed when you were younger,’ so just being able to be a safe place for people makes it worth it to me.” 

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