Service to America and its veterans is woven through Dr. Tawana Tucker’s career.
Tucker, of Ridgeland, balances her nursing studies and leadership position while serving as Health Promotion Disease Prevention (HPDP) program manager at Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a major in the United States Army Reserve located at the 7233rd Medical Support Unit in Montgomery, Alabama.
“Serving in the Army Reserves has given me a way to relate to veterans and better understand their needs,” she said. “Patients see their nurses more often and longer during their healthcare experiences. This gives nurses an opportunity to educate veterans on their health as well as the health of the community.”
Tucker had a desire to offer her patients preventative care strategies that incorporate the most recent information to guide individualized management plans that will keep them out of the hospital.
That’s why she went back to school to become a family nurse practitioner. She’s currently in her second semester of studies at the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
"Being able to provide a higher level of care with adequate healthcare information to patients will allow me to have a more significant impact on their health and well-being,” she said.
Tucker, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Mississippi College in 1993, cared for patients at the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UMMC and then at Methodist Rehabilitation Center. She went on to earn a Master’s in Public Health at Jackson State University and a Doctorate of Nurse Practice in Health Leadership at Capella University. Still, the call to help improve the health of America’s veterans and her community brought her back to earn her family nurse practitioner degree.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tucker worked to increase the vaccination acceptance rate against COVID-19 while there was an environment of hesitation about vaccines.
“Some wanted to know whether they should get the vaccine,” she said. “These patients need the insight of health care providers to make the right decision. They need to know you’re there to help them understand the ‘why.’”\Dr. Derek Holt, assistant professor, and director of the School of Nursing’s FNP track, applauds Tucker’s studies.
“Dr. Tawana Tucker has a long history of serving the nursing profession,” he said. “She has taken a huge leap to return to school to pursue an advanced practice role. She epitomizes that health care is a lifelong learning process.”