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Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
New York, NY
Headshot of Candy Dato

What I love most about being a nurse is that you’re helping people discover ways they can reduce their stress, cope with their emotional pain, make positive changes in their lives. And thats rewarding.

My inspiration

I was influenced by a whole series of books, the Cherry Ames Nursing series. Cherry Ames was a fabulous role model for a young girl. She became a nurse and she worked in all different kinds of areas of nursing, and she had an interesting life. So that inspired me as a child, and then I volunteered as a teenager, and it was just something I always wanted to do.

Video still of Candy Dato in front of hospital beds

The role of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Candy, PhD, RN, NPP, tells us how rewarding it is to be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

I serve as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator

I’ve been teaching now for many years. It is a challenge in that nurses today have to learn a lot and they need to be ready to, and willing, and able to jump right into a demanding career, but it is a challenge that the faculty share with them. We want them to succeed, and we work with them, and it's very rewarding. It’s different than being a clinical nurse, but it has also has rewards having to do with helping people get started on a career path that that can be really rewarding for them.
My advice for someone starting out
The advice I would give people entering nursing in the future or entering now would be to think about what their areas of interest are, to be open-minded. Thinking about a future in nursing, nurses should think about the opportunities that will grow with their experience and they may work in different areas of nursing, different clinical areas, different settings, different roles.

My innovation story

A few years ago, a former patient found me through Facebook. He was someone that was on the psychiatric unit where I was the head nurse, and he had been hospitalized there many years before, decades before. And he reached out to tell me how much it had meant to him what the nurses, including me, but all of the nurses did for him. And to that, to this day that sort of made me feel like my whole career was worthwhile hearing that from someone who had been a very disturbed young man, who went on to lead a wonderful life as he described it.
How I balance work and life
Well, work-life balance is really important for anyone, but particularly for people that are working in high stress situations. I’ve learned to be able to distance myself a little bit from my work, not that I don’t ever think about my work after leaving, but I’ve been able to relax. ”
I’ve found many ways that have helped me maintain work-life balance, anything from socializing, spending time with friends and family, exercise, activities.
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