MICNP Honors Shelly Garlitz during Nurse Practitioners Week

Courtesy Photo Celebrating Nurse Practitioner Week are Nurse Practitioner Shelly Garlitz, back left, Dr. David Dargis, and in front, from left, are medical assistant Rebecca Schellie and RN/office manager Jennifer Merrill.

As the demand for primary care providers continues to grow, it is with great pride that the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners (MICNP) celebrates nurse practitioner week this week, Nov. 11 to 17.

More than 30 nurse practitioners from the area are among 222,000 nurse practitioners in the US who provide primary and specialty care to clients with over 870 million yearly visits. According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the unique blend of nursing and medical functions distinguishes NPs from other healthcare providers.

One such provider is Shelly Garlitz, of Alpena Express Care & Family Practice, and an MICNP member. Working at Alpena Express Care allows her to experience her role in multiple settings.

Garlitz is a board-certified family nurse practitioner, and she loves working in the acute care office setting and in the nursing home environment.

“I work in the office two days per week and then I travel to six nursing facilities from Tawas to Cheboygan,” she explained.

She considers her job both rewarding and exciting. Garlitz said sometimes the days are long and the patients can be complex.

She is one of the primary care providers working with Dr. David Dargis, a family practice physician and owner, and has been practicing for 18 years.

Garlitz began her career as a medical technologist graduating from California State University in Bakersfield. After 13 years at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena she decided to become a registered nurse. She began her nursing career at Greenview Tendercare in Alpena and later worked for Covenant Health Systems in Saginaw. She continued to further challenge herself by becoming a family nurse practitioner. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2014 and accepted employment at Matrix in Saginaw in pain management.

Returning to her hometown in 2016, Garlitz joined Alpena Express Care, where she is currently employed. She feels that after 30 years of medical experience behind her, she is still learning and growing.

“I love what I do,” Garlitz said.

She treasures the partnerships formed with patients and families. She credits Dr. Dargis for his guidance as well as the teamwork in the office and nursing homes.

She adds that being involved in the Northeast Chapter of MICNP allows important networking with colleagues. She is currently the chapter secretary. The Alpena chapter is one of the most active chapters in upper lower Michigan.

Even though Garlitz is very busy she also finds time to mentor nurse practitioner students.

“I try to support my profession,” she said, adding that she enjoys sharing her knowledge in geriatrics, acute care, and chronic illness.

“I plan to keep streamlining what we are doing here,” she said, “to deliver the best care possible to our clients.”

When not working, Garlitz loves to travel and spend time with her cats while relaxing at home.

Currently there are more than 4,700 registered nurse practitioners in Michigan, with more than 89 percent practicing in primary care. The MICNP Alpena chapter is one of 16 chapters in Michigan that supports NPs in every specialty to provide education and advocacy for the continued growth of the profession.