Prince George’s Co.-based organization offers mentorship, career counseling to nurses

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.

Nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to exit the profession after years of stress. One Prince George’s County, Maryland, organization is helping these nurses cope, offering career counseling and mentorship to professionals in the country’s most trusted job.

Alita-Geri Carter is a pediatric nurse practitioner and founder and CEO of On the Move Academy and The Commission for Health.

Carter said nurses who are at a crossroads need to ask the question, “Do I need to leave the profession to come back to the profession?”

She also said there’s a big push to connect nurses to the proper resources to make informed decisions about their careers, including mental health resources.

“It’s OK to talk to someone who is a subject matter professional in mental health,”  Carter said.

Alita-Geri Carter is a pediatric nurse practitioner that has been working in nursing for 15 years. (Courtesy Alita-Geri Carter)

That person can be a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or nurse practitioner certified in mental health, she said, adding that you should beware of choosing friends or family members.

Carter said she knows what it’s like to feel disillusioned about your career.

Alita-Geri Carter runs The Commission for Health. (Courtesy The Commission for Health)

When she graduated from Bowie State University in 2009, she applied for 18 jobs as a registered nurse and only heard from two hospitals. She said she thought she was doing all the right things — being active in the community, volunteering, joining a sorority, having great references — but she wasn’t receiving any responses from prospective employers.

“Maybe I didn’t have good resume writing skills. Maybe I didn’t present myself as a well-rounded student during [an] interview,” Carter said in hindsight. “I didn’t have a cover letter. I didn’t have a headshot.”

Carter now helps health care professionals meet their career goals, saying there are nurses in agencies you’d never expect from the FBI to Congress to the White House.

The Commission For Health can be reached at its website or by calling 240-630-1989.

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