Nurse Practitioner Dr. Kathleen Haycraft of Hannibal has been named 2014 Alumni of the Year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she received a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) in 2011.

Nurse Practitioner Dr. Kathleen Haycraft of Hannibal has been named 2014 Alumni of the Year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she received a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) in 2011.

This is “an amazing honor” Haycraft said. But it is just one of several she has received in 2014.

When the alumni of the year honor was announced, the university reported: “Haycraft (DNP ’11) empowers nurses and patients alike as the Missouri state representative for and chair of the Missouri Council of Advance Practice Nurses, Missouri Nurses Association.

“As a family and pediatric and dermatological nurse practitioner, Haycraft has demonstrated a passion for health care policy and a broad range of experiences in administration, educational and clinical settings.”

Haycraft said, “I enjoy engaging with legislators and administrative bodies to explain what a nurse practitioner is and what we can do for our healthcare system.

“I have a passion for patients who live in underserved rural and urban areas,” she continued. “I am driven by my memories of 16 years at a rural health clinic, where there were not enough practitioners to care for the large volume of patients. Many of the patients were poor and chronically ill.”

Haycraft noted it is difficult to recruit nurse practitioners in Missouri, “because they can’t be more than 50 miles away from the physician.” She is working to change this rule.

Haycraft is currently a dermatological nurse practitioner with Dr. Linda Cooke at Riverside Dermatology in Hannibal, which is affiliated with the Quincy Medical Group.

 On June 19 Haycraft was honored as a new member of the Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP). She said this will not affect her lifestyle, because she was already speaking and writing. However, “it is a nice honor and I appreciate getting it.” She was recognized by the FAANP on June 19 during a formal gala in Nashville, Tenn.

The FAANP’s website states it  impacts national and global health by engaging recognized nurse practitioner (NP) leaders who make outstanding contributions to clinical practice, research, education, or policy to enhance the AANP mission. From invitational Think Tanks to the Mentorship Program, FAANP is dedicated to advancing the NP profession.

Recalling her experiences at UMKC, Haycraft said, “My most profound moment at the school occurred in my healthcare policy class during an assignment entitled ‘Get Off the Porch and Run with the Big Dogs.’ This made me realize I had gotten a bit complacent. I decided to get off the porch, and I have been running ever since.”

Haycraft realized she wanted to pursue nursing when her daughter became seriously ill and was hospitalized for more than a month.

“There were two nurses (Dusty Shumake and Lilly Griffie) who impressed me through the wonderful care they gave my daughter,” Haycraft said. “I think she is alive today because of the extraordinary care that she received from them. After that illness, I enrolled in my first track along my long path of education.”

Haycraft cares for people in her personal life, too. In addition to being a wife, mother and grandmother, she has helped displaced families settle into new lives. In the 1970s, a family of six from a refugee camp in Southeast Asia lived in her home. She helped them adapt to the U.S. and has kept up with the four children as they have grown.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she went to Louisiana and brought back a family of four and another person. Her family held a community wedding for the couple who had missed their wedding because of the hurricane.

Haycraft’s professional activities include being a political activist for nurse practitioners and the architect of Missouri’s Tricameral Approach to ACCESS. She is the co-editor of the Missouri White Paper.

Her research interest is in health-care policy and dermatology. Haycraft has presented on policy and dermatology at local, regional and national conferences and has served on a wide variety of local and state boards, representing a variety of causes.

Sharing the “secret” of her successful, active lifestyle, Haycraft said, “Keep the faith and never quit. … You may lose a few battles along the way; learn from them and laugh a lot. Your sense of humor will save you.

“Surround yourself with positive thinkers. Have confidence, and respect others. Legislators and policymakers want to talk to you, because you are the expert.”