|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
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Polk County resident among first to earn Doctor of Nursing Practice degree
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON – Polk County Nurse Practioner Skylar Salmasi recently became one of a very few Texans to terminal degree for nurse practitioners that focuses on clinical role, as opposed to education or research — the Doctor of Nursing Practice. Salmasi was one of only two students that graduated with the DNP degree in the inaugural class at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio this past December. "There's only about six in San Antonio so far," Salmasi said. The DNP is a practice-focused degree program designed to prepare Nurse Practitioners in specialized advanced practice. Emphasis is on complex practice for the improvement of clinical care delivery and patient outcomes by completing over 1,000 hours of practicum. Nurse Practitioners who achieve their DNP do not have to have a physician on-site. "They are pushing for an increase in the Medicare reimbursement for nurse practitioners — which is currently 75 percent of the physician amount," Salmasi said. "We can prescribe the same medications for the same length of time, except for scheduled narcotics that require a triplicate prescription. You have to see a physician to obtain those." "I collaborate with a physcian at Woodland Heights, but I can be the primary care provider for my patients," she said. "I can work with my patients to manage multiple complex issues as long as they are responding to the treatment plan, such as heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol." If they are not improving, then I am going to send them to a specialist. But I can work with people who have trouble with thyroid, nonemergency heart problems. If they have need stitches or believe they might have a broken bone we can do they X-rays and temporarily stabilize a fracture and refer them to a orthopedic surgeon," Dr. Salmasi said. Dr. Salmasi, NP-C has lived in Polk County for more than 30 years and currently resides in Onalaska with her husband and three-year-old daughter. She practices at Woodland Heights Primary Care at Livingston. The clinic is located at 300 Bypass Ln., Ste. 202 in Livingston (Hwy. 59 North Loop past Eastex Telephone). To make an appointment, call 936-328-8330. Opened in August 2012, Woodland Heights Primary Care at Livingston is a full service primary care clinic that serves patients of all ages. Lewis Landsman, PA-C and Skylar Salmasi, DNP, NP-C, are there to provide quality care to the residents of Polk County and the surrounding area. Services offered at Woodland Heights Primary Care at Livingston include, but are not limited to, well check-ups, sick visits, school physicals, and vaccinations. The facility offers extended hours, sameday appointments and walkins are welcome. Dr. Salmasi said the Woodland Heights Primary Care Clinic is working to get approval to accept all insurance at clinic. "Polk County is part of a Health Care Provider Shortage Area," she said. "Patients have an injury or illness that need need to be seen by a physician, can't get an appointment. Often it's an acute issue — A sinus infection, they've sick for two weeks, can't get in to local physician. We take all the walk ins. They can come in any time. That's one thing that people like. They can keep their regular physician. We want them to keep their internal medicine physician to manage their chronic care, come to us for a sick visit." "I worked for a local cardiologist, so it's easy for me to pick up the phone and get ahold of anybody," she said. "I just looking at the statistics, don't think (the shortage) is going to get any better any time soon. We need a 30 or 40 percent increase in graduates in medical school in order to keep up with population. Dr. Salmasi wrote an article while she was in school based on her research showing how difficult it was to get rural health providers. "Doctors want to go to the medical centers. It is much more difficult to practice in small towns, and they get paid less. You have to have someone from a rural area, they are more likely to return here. Salmasi went to Onalaska Elementary and graduated from Livingston High School in 1994. "I've been in Onalaska since I was one year old. I'm back living on a ranch with my parents, my husband and my daughter, raising horses and chicks and all that stuff. I don't plan to leave. We're very established in community. "That's why I work parttime. I want to take care of my daughter."