Rachel Fidino was a freshman in college when she experienced a life altering moment. Her sister had been diagnosed with preeclampsia and ended up coding on the operating room table after an emergency C-section. It was after witnessing her sister’s complications and how the hospital and health care team were able to care for her, that Fidino knew she wanted to go into nursing.
Fidino obtained her BSN in 2005 and worked as an OB nurse for 7.5 years while she attended graduate school. It was her passion to help women beyond delivery that led her to become a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Fidino is board certified as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (2012) and in cancer genetics (2017).
Fidino joined the Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health Board of Directors in 2018 where she realized there was even more she could do as a Women’s Health Advocate. Fidino felt that obtaining a terminal degree as a Doctor of Nursing Practice would bring her education and work experiences together and open more doors for her to make an impact on a larger scale. After researching many DNP programs throughout the country, Fidino felt that Missouri State University offered all the elements she was looking for including high standards, core competencies, and accreditation.
Fidino felt the support she received from faculty even before applying was reassuring that she was choosing the right program.
“I talked with Dr. Penkalski a couple of times on the phone prior to applying and just the amount of support I was getting from her, even without turning in an application at that time, was very personal. I felt like she was really trying to understand my goals,” Fidino said.
Once in the program, Fidino said the support did not stop.
“The biggest thing that sets Missouri State apart is the amount of support. I am so grateful for Dr. Penkalski as my project chair. She is just an amazing person and I am so grateful to know there are people like her leading these types of programs. She sets the bar high but is there for every step of the program. I think that it is very hard to find a program –where you feel like you are part of the family and not just a number.”
Fidino has many accomplishments during her time as a women’s health practitioner and she continues to work on improving outcomes for maternal health across the US.
In 2018, Fidino started The Healing Hands Project a 501c3 in Seattle Washington and currently serves as the non-profit’s CEO. Healing Hand’s mission is “To empower homeless women with dignity, knowledge, and basic human rights by improving menstrual health, access to necessities, and quality of life,” (thehealinghandsproject.org). With a lack of access to these resources, The Healing Hands Project provides low-income, homeless women, and incarcerated women with education and menstrual hygiene kits. In January, The Healing Hands Project, received a 30k product donation from LOLA – a producer of organic feminine care products. These products will be distributed to the most in-need populations around Washington.
Drawn to policy work, Fidino was asked to be a reviewer the Momnibus bill to help end maternal mortality in the United States. Fidino also serves on the Expanded Carrier Screening Coalition for the United States. She has been actively working within Washington State to change legislation by increasing the number of carrier disorders that are covered by insurance. Knowing what recessive congenital disorders, a woman may carry can offer more reproductive options and preventative care.
Fidino is also the sole author of a breast cancer imaging bill that has so far been passed in eight states. The imaging bill allows for a certain population of women who are high-risk for breast cancer to have preventative screenings covered by insurance at 100%.
More recently, Fidino has opened her own Women’s Clinic in Kennewick, Washington. New U Women’s Clinic & Aesthetics’ focus is to provide prevention and wellness services while inspiring their patients to feel empowered and educated when it comes to making health care decisions.
Fidino mentioned she has referred many colleagues to Missouri State’s DNP program. Some of which are currently enrolled.
“The big thing is, this program really opens a lot of doors, it is not just another credential after your name. The program offers a full picture from start to finish and being able to lead our own study is very different from a lot of the programs out there.”
For Fidino, it offered the policy piece she was looking for.
Rachel Fidino will graduate with her Doctor of Nursing Practice this May. We look forward to reading more of her work as she continues to make an impact in women’s health.