Angela Ann Simmons-Butler, WC '95, BU '02, of Clarksville, Georgia,

Angela Simmons-Butler: Thought for Food

Angela Ann Simmons-Butler, WC '95, BU '02, of Clarksville, Georgia,
Angela Ann Simmons-Butler, WC ’95, BU ’02, of Clarksville, Georgia,

There was not any one thing that drove Angela Simmons-Butler, WC ’95, BU ’02, to choose a career in nursing. She just always knew she was going to be a nurse.

“You’re born to be a nurse. You know from day one,” the Clarksville, Georgia, resident said. “It’s always in your heart.”

Brenau has always been in her heart, too. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing at Brenau. She said she feels especially proud to be among the university’s first class of DNP graduates.

“I feel very honored because I love Brenau,” she said. “The DNP program really helped me grow even more than I was expecting.”

In addition to her studies, Simmons-Butler treats patients at Express Care of Habersham, an urgent care clinic in Cornelia and at Grace Gates medical clinic in Habersham County in the North Georgia mountains. She is determined to help her patients understand their health so they can make better choices and prevent chronic diseases like diabetes.

In her capstone project for the DNP program, she investigated educating patients about their diets. She focused particularly on showing them how carbohydrate-heavy foods influenced what and how much they ate, and how much that kind of diet affected their blood glucose levels. She found that in just a few weeks she had made significant headway.

“Most of my patients had no clue about what they should eat,” she said. “I really tried to tell them that it’s not about going hungry. It’s about making better food choices.”

About 8 percent of Americans currently live with diabetes, including nearly 1 in 10 Georgians. If the numbers continue growing at their current pace, one in three Americans will have the disease by 2025.

“We’ve just got to do something. And it all starts with making sure our patients know how to be healthy,” Simmons-Butler said.

With a DNP degree, Simmons-Butler plans to continue treating and educating her patients. She said she hopes to become a community advocate for patients and their health. The doctoral program has given her the confidence and the skills to do that.

“We don’t pursue this degree to be called doctor or for the prestige of it,” she said. “We do it for the knowledge and the chance to help people.”

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