Kayla Shull Awarded Lois Price Spratlen Foundation Scholarship

Kayla Shull is wearing a stethoscope and standing outdoors by a tree

Congratulations to Kayla Shull, BA ’14 and DNP ’21, who is a 2019-20 recipient of the Lois Price Spratlen Foundation Scholarship. This scholarship program supports graduate students pursuing a career in advanced practice psychiatric nursing.

Shull is originally from Hawaii, raised on the east side of Oahu in a small town called Kaneohe. She moved to Seattle to pursue her undergraduate education at Seattle University and earned her BA in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies in 2014. She is currently studying to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which puts her on track to become a double Seattle U alumna when she completes her doctoral studies in 2021.

Shull recently took some time out to reflect on what drew her to Seattle U initially and why she decided to return and pursue her PMHNP-DNP.

“Out of all the colleges that I toured for undergrad, SU was the only school dedicated to enriching the community around them. I was especially drawn to the mission to educate students for a just and humane world. It is a value that I hold close to me and hope to embody in my career as a psychiatric DNP,” said Shull. “Having completed my undergraduate degree at SU, I was familiar with the campus and small class sizes. I appreciated the professor to student ratio and felt that I would excel in that environment while earning my doctoral degree. All my best friends from undergrad are also nurses and they have incredibly fulfilling careers.”

Shull said she was drawn to the PMHNP-DNP program, “because I knew I would get a well-rounded education that would prepare me to achieve my dream of making large scale changes in the area of mental health care. I am deeply passionate about advocating for people with behavioral health issues and have felt supported at SU in my efforts to do this work.”

Shull is currently working as a methadone dispense/substance use disorder nurse at Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS). Her DNP project focuses on developing an assessment tool for wounds that have an injection drug use etiology and to implement a wound care program at ETS.

Although wound care is not traditionally an area of interest for PMHNPs, wounds often derail treatment due to long hospital stays. “It’s important for advanced practice nurses to have a variety of skill sets regardless of specialty, not only for meeting immediate patient needs, but for coordinating patient care.” Shull says. She believes a program headed by practitioners in a trusting environment could lower hospital admissions and increase treatment adherence.

After completing her DNP, Shull plans to specialize in addiction medicine and wound care while continuing to work with ETS and acute care drug detox centers in the Seattle area.

“I want to serve those struggling with all types of substance use disorders. I believe that recovery looks different for everyone and that as providers we should not only be meeting people where they’re at, but where they want to be,” said Shull. “In my time working with ETS, I quickly learned that a first, second, third or tenth time in treatment may not be the last, but an open mind and non-judgmental attitude may make the fifteenth time the one. It is truly a privilege to watch someone turn their lives around, and that’s why I love this work.”

Visit us online to learn more about becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in the DNP program at Seattle U.