Megan White is a stabilization practitioner with Sanford Health’s mobile crisis services in Bemidji, Minnesota, who is also going to school full-time with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner in psychiatric care.
Her commitment to working in behavioral health has not wavered, something that has been reflected in the way she goes about her duties in Bemidji.
At a recent meeting with supervisors Merri McCarthy and Kirsten Craft, White found it a little odd that one of them was leaving all the time. Finally, one came back and said she wanted White to accompany her to the main room.
“All my co-workers were waiting, and they surprised me with a giant check,” White said. “I had no idea.”
The big check recognized that White was a recipient of Sanford’s Equity in Education Scholarship. It was well-earned, well-timed and it was going to make White’s pursuit of her education less of a financial strain.
“I work full-time and go to school, and I’ve been paying for everything out of pocket – I hadn’t gotten any loans or anything like that,” White said. “The scholarship means I can continue to fully focus on school and on my work. They’re both very important to me.”
Mental health field ‘needs a lot of support’
The Equity in Education scholarship program serves underrepresented and traditionally underserved populations seeking higher education. Award recipients like White must demonstrate exceptional character and leadership in furthering their own progress and in enriching the lives of others, especially in service, academics, and community involvement and impact.
“I love my team and I love my supervisors,” White said. “I feel like they are in full support of me and my education and helping me pursue my career in mental health.”
White grew up in Utah and moved to the Bemidji area to attend school and help out with her grandparents, who lived in Bemidji. She has served in various support roles in mental health since then that have convinced her this is a lifetime career.
“It’s a big field that needs a lot of support,” White said. “There are a lot of people who need help with their mental health and aren’t getting the access they need to it. Working in mobile crisis now I feel like I’m able to make a difference in peoples’ lives. We can work with people even if they don’t have insurance or they don’t have transportation.”
White intends to become a nurse practitioner with specialties in psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. She views her continued education as a way of adding to her own ability to help people.
“I am learning so much about medications that can be helpful for someone experiencing certain disorders,” White said. “Overall, in my nursing career I’ve learned so much about therapeutic communication and being able to build a rapport with people so I can build those relationships to be able to help them in the best way possible.”
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