Angie Smith strives to empower patients to self-manage their health
Angie Smith, AGACNP-BC (B.S.‘13/N; M.S.‘15/N), made frequent visits to the hospital as a little girl because her mother was very ill. At a young age she realized she wanted to be a nurse. Smith told her Mom, “I will take care of you.”
Originally from New York, Smith moved to Puerto Rico with her family when she was three years old. Later she joined the military, which led her to move to Virginia. Her time in the Marine Corps taking care of injured Marines inspired Smith to seek a degree in biomedical engineering from VCU. Back then she wanted to help improve prosthetics for injured veterans. But her goals soon changed.
“I realized that instead of working in a lab, I wanted to be with patients and provide compassionate medical care,” said Smith, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at the VCU School of Nursing. “I wanted to experience the connection with patients to help them get through whatever illness or condition they have. Unexpected things happen to people, and I wanted to help them overcome traumatic situations.”
It was then that Smith started pursuing a career in nursing. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees at the VCU School of Nursing, becoming board certified as an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
Today Smith splits her time working as an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner with Southside Physicians Network and its satellite clinic Tindall Wellness Clinic. Both located in the Crater District of Virginia, they serve the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell and Petersburg, and the counties of Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry and Sussex. Southside Physicians Network focuses on internal medicine with patients being referred after hospital visits, while Tindall Wellness Clinic is a free clinic for patients with urgent health care needs.
“I love working at Tindall Wellness Clinic,” Smith said. “I see patients in need of medical services, and I provide the care that they need at no cost to them. They can’t go to a regular doctor, either due to financial hardship or work-related commitments, but I can help treat and educate them regarding their conditions and general health topics.”
Education is one of the aspects that she enjoys most about being a nurse practitioner. Smith loves empowering patients to take better care of their overall health.
Despite her busy schedule as a nurse practitioner and a DNP student, Smith also volunteers with the SYNC program, a partnership with the Virginia Department of Health that serves Petersburg, Prince George, Colonial Heights and Dinwiddie. SYNC looks at the population’s needs and tackles different chronic diseases affecting the community, such as hypertension and heart disease. In addition, Smith is an active member of the Virginia Nurses Association and the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners.
During her time in the DNP program, Smith has worked closely with Shelly Smith, DNP, APRN-BC, clinical assistant professor and director of the DNP Program. She feels that Shelly Smith is an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge.
“Dr. Smith focuses on enhancing the practice of and empowering nurse practitioners,” Angie Smith said. “She makes sure that her students continue to grow.”
Shelly Smith described Angie as "really a delight" and said she has been "a pleasure to work with."
“Angie receives feedback well and has an optimistic attitude,” Shelly Smith said. “Her positivity about her work is contagious, and her passion about her work is visible. With the valued added by our DNP program, I know Angie will build on these qualities and her leadership abilities. I believe her DNP project will help empower patients to care for themselves and lead healthier lifestyles. That is the exciting part about VCU’s DNP program, watching our students transform healthcare; it doesn’t get any better than that!”
Smith’s DNP project focuses on hypertension management in adult patients. Her goal is to provide patients with a home-based, self-monitoring tool to better manage their hypertension symptoms.
After her May 2018 graduation, Smith said she plans to continue working at the clinics but the SYNC project has led her to want to do so in a different role.
“Richmond is rich with multiple free clinics but unfortunately the Crater District area is not,” Smith said. “I want to create more free clinics in this area.”
Smith feels that her education at VCU is preparing her for her goals.
“This program and the curriculum give me the tools to help make changes in the community,” Smith said. “I chose the DNP program at the VCU School of Nursing because of the school's reputation and knowledgeable professors. The research focus and affiliation with the VCU Health System is what I need to gain a wealth of knowledge to continue to grow as a nurse leader and help improve health care in our communities.”