Alumna Crosses Continent to Pursue Career that Gives Back to Alaska Community

Alumna Crosses Continent to Pursue Career that Gives Back to Alaska Community

Lily George journeyed from Alaska and back to earn her nursing credentials, driven by personal health experiences and a desire to improve access to endocrine care

Lily George ‘21, APRN, AGNP-C, PGCert Endocrinology
Lily George, ‘21

Duke School of Nursing alumni Lily George ‘21, APRN, AGNP-C, PGCert Endocrinology, traveled thousands of miles on her journey to become a nurse practitioner. Born in Anchorage, Alaska, George decided on a career in nursing and opted to specialize in endocrinology after experiencing her own personal endocrine health issues. She realized that not only did she want to learn more, she wanted to be able to treat patients on her own.

George crossed the continent from Alaska to upstate New York and the University of Rochester to obtain her nursing degree, and while looking to continue her education, she began to learn more about the Duke University School of Nursing. Her decision to apply was driven by the school's pioneering endocrine subspecialty certificate program, a reflection of its commitment to advancing healthcare education. She was also attracted to the School’s holistic approach to nursing, she says.

“My goal was to be an intermediate support and improve access” to endocrine care back home in Alaska, where endocrine specialists are scarce, she explains. As a full practice authority state, George is able to use her Duke Nursing degree to see patients on her own. “My thought was not to be a replacement [to physicians], but to provide additional access, and Duke has put me in a position to continue to not only do that, but to grow as a provider.”

Lily George and her father outside of the Pearson Building on her first day of orientation
Lily George and her father outside of the Pearson Building on her first day of orientation

The supportive and encouraging faculty, alongside the camaraderie among classmates, stand out in her memories as pivotal to her educational experience. These elements, often perceived as generic, were, in reality, fundamental to fostering a positive and meaningful educational journey for George.

As a show of gratitude to the School of Nursing, George recently became a first-time donor. “When you have a vision for something, you want to get linked up with a community that understands that and furthers that vision, and the School of Nursing did that,” she says. “For me personally, I felt very grateful. The reason that I chose to give back to Duke so early in my career is because I felt so connected to the culture and mission of the School of Nursing,” she says. “They are constantly trying to innovate, and I’ve been on the receiving end of that.”

Currently, George works in both integrative and conventional medicine, dedicating her expertise to primary care with an endocrine focus and a pediatric endocrine subspecialty clinic. Her goal to create a hybrid practice model exemplifies the innovative mindset that the School of Nursing instilled in her. This model not only caters to a diverse patient demographic but also ensures a broader insurance access, reflecting a holistic approach to patient care.

Lily George hiking in Alaska
George hiking in Alaska

George credits the Duke School of Nursing for preparing her to maintain an innovative and open mindset, crucial for her professional development. She acknowledges the influence of the University of Rochester in her journey, viewing her time at Duke as a continuation of that innovative legacy. Her gratitude towards being part of the Duke School of Nursing family is profound, as it has been a place of pioneering achievements and personal growth. George's story is a shining example of how the School of Nursing not only educates but also inspires its students to push the boundaries of healthcare.

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