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Heather Lovelace working as aesthetics nurse practitioner; serves in new teaching associate position

Heather Lovelace, FNP-BC, RN, fourth-year DNP student in the Graduate School of Nursing, came to Massachusetts to earn her doctorate degree. The California native and former Division III women’s basketball player became interested in nursing during her undergraduate years at Whitman College in Washington.

“I found when I was doing the clinical shadowing with nurse practitioners, I really enjoyed their approach to clinical care,” Lovelace said. “I studied biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, so I was not a nurse prior to coming to UMass Medical School. Through the Graduate Entry Pathway Program, I was able to become a registered nurse and find my footing in the field.”

She began working as an RN in 2018 at Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester where she completed her family medicine nurse practitioner clinical rotation. She went on to participate in a specialty rotation at Berkshire Orthopedic Associates in Pittsfield.

Lovelace works as a medical professional nurse practitioner at Idea Image Advanced Medical Spa in Shrewsbury.

“Aesthetics is a whole specialized role in and of itself. I’ve been doing cryolipolysis, which is fat freezing, and magnetic muscle stimulation, which is a muscle toning and firming procedure. I’m expected to learn laser hair removal soon; it’s been really enjoyable learning new skills along the way,” said Lovelace.

The GSN created leadership positions for DNP and PhD students last fall, offering them the opportunity to teach a course for a semester under the guidance of faculty. The teaching associates are employed by the Medical School and have primary responsibility for their courses, including grading, conducting lectures, and facilitating course communications with students.

Lovelace applied as one of the first teaching associates last semester, teaching a course on health policy. This spring, she is helping organize a quality and patient safety course.

“The associate is kind of an in interprofessional mediator. I can get student perspectives to the faculty and then relay faculty perspectives to the students. It’s nice to serve that role for my class and create an engaging educational experience for myself and my peers,” she said.

As Lovelace prepares to graduate in a few months, she is reflecting on her time with the GSN. While serving as a member-at-large on the Graduate Student Nursing Organization, she was selected by Joan Vitello, PhD, dean of the GSN, to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.

“A nurse PhD candidate and I represented the GSN at the summit,” said Lovelace. “We were able to advocate for constructive health policy change on Capitol Hill. It was inspiring to participate in this. What excites me about health policy is that anyone can get involved in it, and nursing is so needed at the table.”

Her DNP scholarly project analyzes the implementation of nutrition education intervention with the UMass Medical School Dominican Republic Batey Health Initiative. Bateyes are small rural communities of sugarcane workers. Lovelace and other participants are hoping to make a difference in their quality of life through pioneering a virtual global health experience.

“Individuals living in the bateyes deal with several social determinants of health which impacts their overall wellbeing,” she said. “This is a vulnerable population, and it is rewarding to offer them health education.”

The Student Spotlight series features students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Graduate School of Nursing and School of Medicine. For more information about UMass Medical School and how to apply, visit the Prospective Students page.

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