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utulsa.edu

Community-minded student earning DNP to become nurse practitioner

Alex Button is excited about his future career as family practice nurse practitioner. His goal is to improve healthcare disparities in Tulsa and serve those with little to no access to health care. “When The University of Tulsa School of Nursing created the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, I was on board right away,” said Button.

After graduating in 2019 and passing his national certification examination, Button plans to work in a primary care clinic where the patient’s ability to pay is not an issue.

Button knew from the age of two that he wanted to work in health care.

Recalling a Polaroid photograph from his youth in which he is dressed in scrubs, Button said, “Whenever I look at that picture, it reminds me that I always knew that I would work in health care. It was at TU that I developed my passion for nursing.” He went on to say, “My TU story is one of discovery.” As he progressed through the undergraduate nursing program, Button discovered his desire to help those who didn’t have access to quality health care.

Button named TU’s Outstanding Senior Nursing Student in 2014

Button excelled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and was honored as TU’s Outstanding Senior Nursing Student. After graduation, he passed the standardized nursing exam (NCLEX). He then went on to work as a registered nurse for St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

Four years later, Button enrolled in TU’s new DNP program. “This Doctor of Nursing Practice degree gives me the skills needed to help the underserved population of Tulsa with their health care,” he said, “and, it makes me more marketable and sought after by employers.”

Button works as an RN and attends TU at the same time.

Today, Button continues to work at St. John while completing his doctorate. “At St. John, working in the float pool has broadened my experience and skill set,” he said. Button works in both the medical and surgical units at St. John serving cardiac, trauma, surgical and general patients.

TU professors arrange clinical rotations.

“The DNP program at TU is different and amazing because it is hands-on,” Button said. “At TU, I have the opportunity to sit with my professors in person, practice my skills in the Lawson Family Nursing Simulation Center and Skills Lab and get excellent experience in my TU-arranged clinical rotations.”

During rotations, students work alongside nurse practitioner and physician preceptors to again valuable experience with patients across the lifespan. Button’s rotations include Morton Comprehensive Health Services and Xavier Medical Clinic, both in Tulsa.

Morton provides compressive health care to people regardless of their ability to pay and has a medical facility at 1224 N. Lansing with satellite offices in East Tulsa, Midtown and Nowata, Oklahoma. Xavier Medical Clinic offers free medical services to those who are uninsured or do not have access to adequate health care and is located at 10711 E. 11th Street.

“Alex is a TU student who continues to give back to his community and feels strongly about volunteer work,” said Sheryl Stansifer, director of the TU School of Nursing. As a busy doctoral student and working RN, Button also volunteers for the nurse practitioner-led clinic at the Day Center for the Homeless. “I provide essential and primary healthcare services to homeless clients and help coordinate services with area agencies to maximize patient access to social services and medical care,” he said. Located at 415 West Archer Street, the Day Center provides case management, health care and education.

Button is PCCN (progressive care) nurse certified by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and certified by the American Heart Association in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.