As an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner in a busy hepatology clinic at the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Czarina Mae Morely, MSN, APRN, NP-C is committed to achieving optimal outcomes for her patients by assessing, diagnosing and managing their liver conditions, which are often complicated and life-threatening.
“My day-to-day work is clinically interesting and incredibly rewarding,” says Morley. “Each day, I have a unique opportunity to guide patients to better health, and I play a vital role in the multidisciplinary care model that we have developed at our institution. We all work together to establish our program as the premier program for hepatology and liver transplant in the Midwest.”
Like most clinicians, Morley’s ability to deliver high-quality patient care and contribute to her institution’s development was furthered by her specialized training, hands-on experience and advanced hepatology knowledge. This type of training is expensive and time-consuming to complete, and not all health care professionals can afford it.
At the time of her award, Morley was at a critical juncture in her nursing career. Since 2010, she had been a registered nurse at the University of Kansas Health System’s Medical/Transplant Intensive Care Unit. She had earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing University of Kansas in 2008, and then pursued a Master of Science in Nursing in 2014. “I worked as a bedside nurse, caring for liver patients who often had complex comorbidities. This was both challenging and exciting work, which inspired me commit to a career in hepatology,” she explains.
At this crucial point in her career, Morley’s goal was clear: to establish a nurse practitioner-based clinic at her institution. “I wanted to increase the impact of my role to improve patient care and access. My goal was to help improve outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions by triaging and managing acute primary care and hepatology-related issues,” she recalls. “To reach my goal, I needed support.”
Fortunately, AASLD Foundation was there to provide the support Morley needed. In 2015, Morely was the recipient of the AASLD Foundation NP/PA Clinical Hepatology Fellowship. “Through the Foundation’s, year-long fellowship, I gained protected time to increase my knowledge and experience in clinical hepatology,” explains Morley.
With the advanced training Morley has completed due to her fellowship, she has furthered her contributions to the care of her patients and institution. “Here in Kansas, we’re faced with a growing need for high-quality hepatology care. Because of the generous support from AASLD Foundation, I have expanded my skill set and expertise, so I can improve the lives of thousands of patients with liver diseases who come to our clinic every year,” she says of the Foundation. “AASLD Foundation’s fellowships and awards empower so many hepatology health professionals like me to pursue advanced training and knowledge. Together, we can encourage more NPs and PAs to choose careers in hepatology, and improve and extend our patients’ lives.”