Giving Back to Appalachia

Giving Back to Appalachia
Brenna Lansden
BSN, 2015; Post-MSN FNP Certificate, 2023

What made you consider nursing as a career?

Nursing was a second career for me. Prior to receiving my BSN, I was a news anchor and a public relations professional. I’ve always wanted to help make a positive impact within Appalachia, but wasn’t quite sure how to accomplish that in my previous roles. After much thought, I decided to leave the field of journalism completely, and came to WVU to pursue my BSN. Looking back, the decision was difficult and scary but worth it. Now, I am fortunate enough to provide care to patients in every stage of their lives, hopefully helping them live healthier lives.

What set WVU SON apart from other colleges for you?

By chance, I found myself at WVU SON. I was residing in southern West Virginia and had applied to a nursing school there. Subsequently, due to my husband's job relocation to Morgantown, I also applied to WVU SON. However, I am grateful that my path led me to WVU SON. The professors during my BSN program played a pivotal role in shaping and molding me into the nurse I am today. I couldn't have hoped for better role models who genuinely cared for their students and patients.

Could you share a positive experience from your time at the SON?

In the final semester of my BSN program, I gave birth to my son. Upon my return, one of my instructors and I were talking after class. I shared my struggles with her, discussing the challenges of balancing my roles as a new mother, figuring out a breastpumping schedule in between classes and navigating my final semester of nursing school. Her encouragement, assistance, and relatability were incredibly valuable and provided exactly what I needed at that time. She is the reason behind my journey to becoming a lactation consultant; I wanted to offer the same support to fellow new parents, just as she had for me. Looking back, her kind gesture influenced my trajectory into nursing and lactation.

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

“Be kind to everyone and make good decisions.” This is something I tell my children every day before they go to school. 

Could you tell me more about your career?

I began my nursing career as a labor and delivery nurse. Currently, I am a family nurse practitioner and an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at WVU Medicine in Morgantown. I enjoy in practicing within Family Medicine, as it grants me the opportunity to care for patients across the entire spectrum of life. Additionally, I extend lactation support to parents through the outpatient lactation clinic at Cheat Lake Physicians.

How has your WVU SON education helped you in your career?

The WVU SON education gave me access to clinical experiences that I wouldn't have obtained anywhere else. During my post-MSN certificate program, I had the opportunity to complete a rotation in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program for adults. The providers in this rotation were empathetic and understanding towards a vulnerable population. This experience further fueled my passion to deliver equitable healthcare to all patients.

What’s next for you?

I will continue learning and growing to provide quality health and lactation care to patients in the outpatient clinic. In doing so, I aspire to be a part of the growing trend of change and progress in Appalachia, working towards creating a better place for my family and future generations.

The Summit Ahead Podcast: Episode 15 | A Passion to Give Back to Appalachia | Ft. Brenna Lansden