Nnenna Abaeze, DNP, RN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC
Director, Health Services
First day of work at San Jose State University
August 7, 2023
How did you get here?
I began my journey working as a CNA/student worker at St. Joseph Hospital. Once licensed as a Registered Nurse I transitioned into women’s health services at Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital while completing my nurse practitioner training and education. The goal was to be able to provide women during pregnancy with culturally sensitive care. I soon found out psychiatric services were often missed during and after pregnancy, leading to beginning my psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner training. I continued to work in women services as a family nurse practitioner in a local clinic while completing my psychiatric training. An opportunity was presented as a family and psychiatric provider with a local eating disorder facility that allowed me to grow my skills as a clinician and eventually a director. This opportunity led to my current position as the SJSU Director of Health Services.
Who were your role models or mentors?
Several members of my family work in the nursing field or by proxy of living with nurses have great medical insight. Each of them offered different perspectives on how to remain selfless, honest, and kind while continuing to grow professionally and personally. I also witnessed their drive to provide excellent care to patients regardless of the personal matters they were facing at the time. My mentor, Dr. Angela Sojobi, remained a voice of reason and support as I navigated professional milestones. She was a good example of a strong leader and medical provider.
What are your tips for getting started in this field?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research. Oftentimes I will overhear people say “go into nursing, it's a solid field”. While this is true, there are nuances in the profession that are often overlooked or misunderstood. Be sure to do your research first. Once you’ve decided nursing is a good fit, begin the work. Work includes but is not limited to prerequisite courses, volunteer opportunities, and sacrifice.
What are your most important habit(s) or resource(s) for staying well?
Active lifestyle! I enjoy exercising, pilates, and running. It keeps things balanced for me and allows me to reset, especially in the morning.
Sleep! Rest allows people to maximize their capabilities. At least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Work-life balance! Making sure I can spend time or speak to my family and friends often. Being intentional with making the time available.