The Clinical Advisor features health care workers who are advancing the profession. This month we celebrate Rodney Lamar Duckett, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, NREMT-P. Dr Duckett began his career as an emergency medical technician and then completed an accelerated paramedic course. He later became a licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse, and 6 years later received his Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a family nurse practitioner track. Dr Duckett worked exclusively in the emergency department setting and now practices in urgent and emergency settings. Dr Duckett also serves as a motivational speaker and a community advocate who works with underserved populations as founder of IMPAC Outreach (Intelligent Minds Proving & Applying Commitment).

Q: What experience(s) helped determine your career path?

“If you fail, never give up because FAIL means ‘First Attempt In Learning,’ End is not the end. In fact, END means ‘Effort Never Dies.’ If you get NO as an answer, remember NO means ‘Next Opportunity.’ — Abdul Kalam

The experience that helped me the most along my journey was failure and the word “no.” I learned to experience opportunity and success in the word no. Most importantly, I stayed the course, silenced the critics, and showed that the impossible was possible.

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My career in medicine began with a no. While serving in the military, I experienced the word “no” when attempting to reclassify into the medical field. I was denied 6 times. On the third, “no” I laughed and nick-named NO as Next Opportunity. On the sixth “no,” I took an unconventional route by becoming a nontraditional student and paying out of pocket, which allowed me to invest in my passion rather than having the military invest in my passion.

Q: What experience(s) led you to found IMPAC Outreach (Intelligent Minds Proving & Applying Commitment)?

“If the facts are known about social concerns, reasonable actions will follow.” — W.E.B. Dubois

What happens to adolescents who make mistakes? How are they rehabilitated in detention centers across the country? Are communities willing to fully accept them?  Are those adolescents prepared for what is to come?

Returning to society after serving time in prison is challenging enough for adults, but it is far more difficult for children and adolescents who have served time in the juvenile justice system. Limited resources are available to adolescents reentering their communities following detainment, which can lead to a cycle of juvenile recidivism and eventually to a pipeline to becoming adult offenders. Within our community, a gap between youth transitioning from detention centers back to their neighborhoods was found; as a youth advocate and community facilitator, I answered this calling to fill that gap.

My life’s work has led me to become the CEO and founder of the local organization IMPAC Outreach (Intelligent Minds Proving & Applying Commitment). IMPAC was established in 2011 and is based on curtailing the epidemics that affect our youth due to systemic plagues or hidden dangers that restrict them from maximizing their potential.

The program works to make sure kids are committed to being responsible and productive members of their communities. These young people are up against so much already in society and their futures are much worse when they turn to negative, destructive behaviors and activities to fill their time or cope with serious personal issues. The mission of IMPAC Outreach is to become an agent of change that can help to eradicate negative stigmas that have eroded our communities. One of the only ways to do that is to stop destructive patterns and institute new ideas.

Q: What are your goals as head of the organization?

“What you help a person to love can be more important than what you help him to learn.” — African Proverb

My passion is community facilitation through redirection, reeducation, and reorientation. The primary mission of IMPAC is to improve the quality of youth lives through a balance of self-discovery, embracing potential, and applying skills needed to bring about success. Through commitment and persistent methodologies, we apply education as a key intervention for a positive lifestyle change. Ultimately, we want to ensure that every young adult is committed to being a responsible and dedicated citizen within their communities. IMPAC’s motto is “No Matter the Results YOU Control the Outcomes.” Our young citizens are taught that negative results establish the landscapes of positive outcomes and growth once faults are accepted. IMPAC truly understands that seeds buried may produce change that we may never see or experience, but our society will enjoy the benefits of the change created.

Q: What successes have you had with your work at IMPAC?

“Breaking new ground, laying the foundation for work that will happen in the future.” — Rod Duckett

In 2015, through IMPAC, I created and produced a youth-run and operated television show on PBS called @iYouthChat: The Chat Everyone Needs to Hear. A youth-driven awareness television show, @iYouthChat provided an upbeat perspective on important topics to viewers. The show was broadcast monthly and created an educational dialogue aimed at curtailing the national epidemic of juvenile delinquency as well as providing an open source of ethics designed to define societal rules, conducts, and views of the youth population at large. The show remained on PBS for approximately 48 months or 4 seasons.

Q: Who were your mentors in the NP field? 

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” — Lao Tzu

Many hands helped me obtain my Doctor of Nursing Practice and Nurse Practitioner (NP) degrees. I am indebted to so many for this success: Temple College vocational nurse program director Glynda Parker, MSN, instructors Altha Abercrombie, MSN, BSN, RN, and Rosalyn Johnson, BSN, and Nursing Dean Virginia Leak, BSN, RN, MSN, PhD, first sparked my interest to pursue an advanced nursing degree. The first male NP I met overseas was Ron Peterson. His encouragement, guidance, and support provided a great understanding of the need for male NPs. The direction he provided helped me discover my “WHY” as an NP. My good friend Venita Robertson, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, challenged me to continue this path. In addition, Teresa Beamon, DNP, MSN-Ed, RN, my nursing professor and mentor in undergraduate school always planted that positive seed in my head to remind me that I was not done yet. I am grateful for all those hands who molded this clay.

Q: How do you avoid burnout? What do you do for fun?

“Distance yourself from your thoughts and recent experiences by finding joy in something fresh.” — Rod Duckett

Distance and learning something new are 2 of my coping mechanisms. I enjoy getting away and traveling. I’ve spent the last 15 years vacationing in the world’s most remote locations. Africa is by far my favorite travel destination. East Africa, specifically Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, is one of my favorite places. The distance allows me to take it easy and appreciate the beauty of planet earth. In addition, I have a variety of interests outside of nursing including archaeology, history, leatherworking, and shoemaking.

Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew coming out of NP school?

“One of the biggest defects in life is the inability to ask for help.” — Robert Kiyosaki

I am a member of various organizations that provide a wealth of information. Among the organizations that have helped me advance in my profession include the American Nurses Association, Texas Nurses Association, American Nurses Advocacy Institute, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and DNPs of Color. In addition, mentorship, coaching, and fellowships are the finest ways to engage with like-minded individuals, in my opinion.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

“Your desires and gifts collide at the crossroads where your calling awaits.” — Rod Duckett

As you pursue your calling, you will face a slew of obstacles, blockades, and distractions that will keep you from moving forward and receiving your blessing in waiting. Never ever quit trying! It’s okay to fall, but you must get back up and keep moving. It is acceptable to fail, but it is not acceptable to give up. Failure is never permanent! Regardless of the result, you ultimately determine your own outcomes. Your failure, which has held you hostage, is merely feedback for making the necessary improvements to achieve the success you desire. Discover a universe of seemingly impossible possibilities in the word “NO” while creating New/Next Opportunities along the way.