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2014 Menopause Practitioner of the Year

Mary K. Clarkin, RN, MS, CNP, NCMP
Cleveland, OH

What first attracted you to becoming a nurse?  

I became a nurse in 1977 and wanted to become a nurse to help people. Because I had a disease of ITP at age 15 and had been through a lot, I saw what a great occupation it would be to be able to offer someone help when they needed it most. That is why I went into nursing at age 18. I have never regretted it. 
 
Can you tell us a little about your nursing career?

My nursing career started when I worked at Akron Children's Medical Center at age 21 and worked 3 years on night shift, floating every night to a different area. I always loved working with children and even started as a junior in college working as a nursing assistant so I could obtain a job there when I graduated. I then worked in Medical-Surgical and then taught nursing at St. Thomas School of Nursing before going to school when I was 29 for my Nurse Practitioner credential at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984. They were the only school that had an NP with Masters Degree in 1984. I was one of the first NPs at University Hospitals of Cleveland in 1986 in Women's Health. No one knew what an NP was at the time, and I had to explain what our role was to everyone.

How and when did you become involved with NAMS?

I became involved with NAMS in 2007 when I started at the Cleveland Clinic in the Women's Health Center and Dr. Thacker recommended that I join NAMS and take the NCMP exam.
 
How has your NAMS membership benefited you?

I feel NAMS has benefited me, as a professional Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner, in broadening my knowledge base for women in menopause and beyond. I have learned a lot through all the conferences and the NAMS journal and other educational programs. It has helped me deliver quality care for my patients in the Specialized Women's Health Center at the Cleveland Clinic.
 
Why is NAMS certification important to you?

I feel the credential shows that I am qualified to care for my patients, especially during menopause and beyond. I have learned so much through the conferences and journal and the organization. 
 
What is your favorite aspect of the NAMS meeting?

I feel it is wonderful to collaborate with many of the providers in all disciplines that gather for the NAMS meeting. We can discuss cases and learn from each other. I love seeing everyone and learning from all the wonderful speakers at the NAMS meeting.

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