Angelica Walton, DNP

Graduate Angelica Walton, began a role at the Minneapolis VA in her last year of the IHH DNP program. Here are her reflections. 

Angelica Walton

“There are SO many opportunities for you moving forward to create a career path that feels most meaningful and purposeful to you (fully understanding, that we don’t always know what the concrete answers to manifesting that may be, even when we most desire to - which is really hard sometimes) but I’ll also add, often pretty fun and fulfilling when we are open to it. 

In my new role at the VA, I am a Whole Health Clinician in the outpatient Integrative Health clinic. There was/is tons of ambiguity in my evolving role. I was hired into a part time position to work with veterans on education regarding the whole health model, developing personal plans for lifestyle changes, providing resources and language to have these conversations with each of their providers. Our clinic trains nurses and other providers to administer a specific auricular acupuncture protocol to veterans for the treatment of pain, and we have acupuncture clinics operating all week long. We do mindfulness and yoga classes with veterans for the health promotion of common symptoms experienced by this population such as PTSD, MST (military sexual trauma), moral injury, chronic limb pain, neuropathy, diabetes, insomnia, depression, ect. We facilitate veteran-led group classes where we talk about spirituality, the power of the mind, integrative methods for improving sleep, working the body ect. We facilitate group Tai Chi classes, Yoga, iRest Yoga Nidra, Guided Imagery, and Meditation classes. 

I also have had the opportunity to round in some newly developed resiliency spaces and provide hands-on healing services to interdisciplinary staff. We are working towards quite a few projects and developing research in this area of resiliency and the use of virtual reality for improving stress and burnout. Something manifesting as I transition to full time and work towards creating my own path here (the beauty of the degree) is  a process for the expansion of Integrative Nursing and therapies to the inpatient setting. The hope is to have a standardized operation in place for an integrative consult, assessment, and capacity to increase accessibility of our integrative health providers such as our massage therapist, acupuncturist, yoga therapist, reiki practitioners, and whole health coaches to a greater bandwidth for the veteran community. 

We are currently working to revise the Integrative Nursing education process across the facility and are starting the beginning phases of developing a new Nature Based Healing curriculum and the delivery of reiki services, education, and training.  There are so many things evolving (and not all were in the job description/role when I took it). I’d encourage you to write out a list of what you hope for, what your values are, and what your ideal or dream job might be. This could be an exercise just to bring some clarity to what matters most to you- and I’d encourage anyone who does so to continue revisiting it along the journey as you're taking in new insight throughout the program because you’ll find that it may shift, change, and evolve.”