Doctor of Nursing Practice
“I knew if I got an education at a good school I could get a good job — and I have.”
Growing up, Karalee LaBreche saw what her aunt went through dealing with schizophrenia. The experience had a profound effect on her and her career aspirations. “I wanted to help people like those who helped her,” said LaBreche.
LaBreche is now a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner for Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis improving care and quality of life for hospitalized adults with mental illnesses. There she performs diagnostic tests, makes diagnoses, and prescribes therapies and treatments.
LaBreche was in the first class of DNP graduates who completed their degrees at the University of Minnesota. She invested in advancing her education, in part, to further her work on a project to develop a crisis medication program for Ramsey County in Minnesota. The project, which was designed to get needed medication to people with mental health needs to avoid more costly visits to emergency rooms, received an award from the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses. When she started the project, it could take weeks – sometimes even months – before someone could see a psychiatrist to obtain the medication they needed. Now, because of the program she helped to develop, it takes, on average, three to five days to obtain needed medication. There is work underway to refine the program even more, which could cut the wait time to one day or less.
LaBreche said her DNP degree has proved to be an important asset in obtaining leadership positions, like her recent appointment as the nursing representative on the State Advisory Council on Mental Health. “I knew if I got an education at a good school I could get a good job,” said LaBreche, “and I have.”