DNP Works with Medically Underserved Population — Migraine Patients

When they miss work due to illness, Maureen Moriarty’s patients typically won’t mention that they’re suffering from a migraine. “In many ways it’s still not socially acceptable to call in with a headache,” says Moriarty, DNP, even though one in eleven Americans — a total of 23 million people — suffer from migraine headaches.  

Common symptoms can include:
• throbbing, pulsating pain
• light and sound sensitivity
• nausea
• pain on one side
• blurred vision.

The nurse practitioner says two out of three patients are women and the disorder reaches peak intensity between the ages of 30 and 45, typically a person’s most-productive years. Despite being a common health issue, most doctors and nurses have limited training in headache.
Moriarty originally expected to work as a nurse practitioner in a medically underserved, rural area, but began her career working with an internist at Johns Hopkins who specialized in headache.
 “I really enjoyed it, and have now been working in this medically underserved pain population for 30 years,” she says.
In addition to her practice, she directs The Bridge, a national education initiative sponsored by the American Headache Society for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Moriarty joined Marymount’s faculty in 2015 as an associate professor of nursing and is the graduate chair for nursing at the Malek School for Health Professions. She also directs the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and RN-BSN programs. In November 2017 she was the first nurse practitioner named a fellow in the AHS.
She offers several tips to help mitigate headache:
• Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
• Have consistent mealtimes
• Get daily aerobic exercise, even if only 20 minutes of walking
• Avoid certain foods, such as chocolate, cheese and alcohol
• Limit caffeine intake

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