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Meet Sara: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Today we’re meeting my oldest friend in the world, Sara Webb. I’ve literally known Sara since birth. She’s a total boss lady and is one of my heroes because of the incredible work she does in psychiatry. I especially love how she answered the last question and she gave me lots to think about. Check it out below!

Tell us a little about yourself and your career

My name is Sara Webb and I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I work in outpatient mental health and prescribe medications for a wide variety of mental illnesses, mostly for adults. I also teach psychopharmacology and several other courses at the University of Utah in the psychiatric nurse practitioner graduate program. I am married and have a four month old baby girl who is perfection personified.

How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you? 

The women in my life have always been very supportive. Now that I have a baby and am working full time, family members have been more than willing to help when needed. Professionally, I work in a field that is dominated by women (nursing). I have had mostly female mentors and role models along the way. When I was on maternity leave, multiple women I work with stepped up to help take care of my patients and support me. I also have many listening ears because I am working with many women who are also raising families.

How did you decide which career path to follow? 

It was actually not really planned and it kind of unfolded as I went along. I went into nursing because I felt like I wanted to be in a helping profession and I was interested in healthcare. While I was in nursing school, I did a rotation in psychiatric nursing (which terrified me)

 and was surprised when I really enjoyed it. My professor approached me and encouraged me to go to graduate school and become a nurse practitioner. Without her mentoring and encouragement, I never would have even thought about doing what I do now.

What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations? 

When I was younger, I thought that I wanted to work part-time but mostly be a stay-at-home mom – I knew that I wanted to work at least a little bit, but I thought you couldn’t work full time and be a good mom. So I had a lot of “back-up plans” and “plan B’s”. I realized that was silly and cured myself of that thought pretty quickly once I was a little older, but I wish that I could tell myself to just chart a course and go for it. My career has ended up working out really well for me and I didn’t need all the backup plans and hesitation.

What’s your career related mantra?

I don’t know if I really have a mantra, but if I think about it, it would probably be something like “keep trying until you have a perfect job.” I didn’t love my first few jobs out of school, and I wondered if I had chosen the wrong field. I moved around quite a bit and ended up taking a job at the University of Utah because I wanted to teach.

When I first started, there wasn’t any teaching involved but there was the hope that more teaching would come along. I kept asking my boss to let me know if there were any teaching opportunities, and I have slowly been able to pick up more teaching and I am now teaching half the time and working in clinical settings half the time and it is a perfect mix for me. I am grateful that I didn’t give up on the field and that I just kept moving around until I found something that was a much better fit.

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