Meet Lani De Jong, AAPPN’s East King County Chapter Chair.
Lani De Jong, ARNP, PMHNP-BC, is a Board Certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner trained to treat patients across the lifespan.
She received her Masters of Science in Nursing from Seattle University, and completed a fellowship at Seattle Children’s Autism Center.
Lani practices general psychiatry in a solo private practice on Carillon Point in Kirkland. In March, she began a volunteer role as AAPPN Chair of the East King County Chapter.
Tell us a bit about yourself before you went into nursing.
Before I went into nursing, I was exclusively a work-at-home Mom for 10 years to my three amazing sons. Prior to starting my family, I had studied and received my BA in Communication Studies at Seattle University.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
Two things inspired me to become a nurse – being a Mom, and another nurse. I had never considered nursing while I was studying for my undergraduate degree. It was the process of nurturing and caring for my boys that prepped me for the profession.
The other influence came to me as a Labor & Delivery RN named Ruby. She was the day nurse I had after delivering my third son. She connected with me during a vulnerable moment, and showed such great compassion, gentleness, and professionalism that it was a clear touchpoint in my life.
Did you always plan on a career in psychiatric nursing when you were in nursing school?
No! In fact, I’d applied to SU’s Family ARNP program, but was put on the waitlist. At that point, I just assumed I wouldn’t be getting into any of their programs. Then just three days before orientation was to start, they called me to tell me that they didn’t have a spot open up in the Family program, but that one opened up in the Psych program and did I want it. I asked if I could sleep on it, and get back to them, which, of course they agreed to.
After some soul searching, I figured that it was a door that had opened to me, and I better get going. So, I called SU back the next day, and told them I’d take the spot.
What is one thing you know now that you wish you’d have known when you graduated?
I wish I knew more about the back end of nursing practice – specifically, the insurance facing side – CPT codes, etc.
Tell us about your practice.
I practice general psychiatry in a solo private practice on Carillon Point in Kirkland. I provide care for patients 13-65 years old. I mostly do medication management, since most of my patients are referred to me from therapists. However, I do have a handful of patients that I get to do some therapy with, as well.
What’s been one of the best things in your career?
One of the best things in my career has been starting my own practice. Although it took a lot of work and courage to be willing to strike out on my own, the flexibility of my schedule has allowed me to balance the other parts of my life that are just as important.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud of being a consultant, as a Psych ARNP, on a committee that influences the decisions of which medications are put on an insurance plan’s formulary. This position allows me to represent our profession, while being privy to new medications that are being brought to market.
What is the best advice you ever received about the profession?
The best advice I ever received was one from a dear psychiatrist that provided me consultation the first year of my career. He told me that our only job was to provide a safe and appropriate treatment plan to patients, and what they do once they leave the office, is up to them. That pearl has been incredibly freeing to me!
What have you gained – perhaps in an unexpected way – from being a PMHNP?
I have gained such satisfaction and fulfillment from being a Psych ARNP. No doubt, it is hard work! But it is also satisfying and fulfilling to see a patient feel and get better.
What role has AAPPN played in your career?
AAPPN has given me a sense of professional community, which I miss since being in solo private practice. I value the support I get through consultation and camaraderie with like-minded nurse practitioners.