Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Nurse Professional Advisory Committee

LCDR Nikkia Clark in uniform in front of American FlagSpotlighting the Career of LCDR Nikkia Clark

Biography Contributed by: LTJG Alyssa Givens


This Nursing Spotlight is brought to you by CDR Janice Arceneaux, CDR Nichole Vetter and LCDR Allison Gallen

LCDR Nikkia Clark has taken a unique path during her distinguished 12 year career in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). She started in the Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (COSTEP) program while attending Howard University in Washington D.C. and spent her summers as an intern with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) working in the Inpatient Pediatrics Department. After graduation she continued working at the NIH; however, a desire for new challenges led her to pursue a position with the Infectious Disease Department (IDD). Her job duties included working with patients who have been diagnosed with HIV, Hepatitis C and many rare infections. A couple of years later, she took a position with the Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness where she worked in the Career Assignment Center managing application packets for future officers, processing security clearances and reviewing medical packets for newly commissioned officers.

One of her most memorable nursing experiences occurred while working in the IDD unit. She had a patient who contracted a facial fungus which was so debilitating that he required total care for his activities of daily living. LCDR Clark was able to witness his amazing transformation from being completely debilitated to being able to function independently. This experience was pivotal in solidifying her resolve to pursue a long, diverse career in nursing.

LCDR Clark eventually found her current job with the U.S. Marshals Service through a posting on the N-PAC listserv. She has been employed with the Marshals Service in Crystal City, VA, for about the past two years and has worked in prisoner operations as a case manager reviewing medical requests from prisoners awaiting sentencing.

Currently her job duties are more occupational health focused, and she works with Marshals Service Deputies who have been injured on and off the job. In this role, she assists in determining if they can return to full duty status after completing the medical recommendations set by their physicians. She chose to work at the Marshals Service because the judicial system intrigued her. During her time in this position, she has learned a lot about the judicial system and the process by which a criminal is arrested, tried, sentenced and placed in prison.

When looking at changing positions within the Corps, LCDR Clark feels the most important thing to do is “research the position and the job duties, and then see what qualities you have that match the announcement- be open and step out of your comfort zone as well.” Before joining the PHS, she was not aware that the Marshals Service was an employment option as an officer and is thankful for the unique opportunities.

During her career, LCDR Clark spent three years as a member of RDF-2 where she had the privilege of participating in multiple deployments. These deployments included Hurricane Ike, the Presidential Inauguration and a local deployment where she manned a call center for victims of natural disasters. “Deployments can be great experiences, I saw the vulnerabilities of others which really opened my eyes to why I became a nurse -it makes you appreciate what you have and the value of your skills- you can really learn a lot from people.”

LCDR Clark has learned a lot throughout her career and feels the most important advice she could give to a newly commissioned officer is to “get a mentor and keep one throughout your career; regardless of rank, it is helpful to have a second pair of eyes to look over your COER/CV or to just ask questions as they come up.” LCDR Clark has enjoyed the experiences the Corps has offered her and looks forward to what the future holds.. “I feel privileged to have found out about the Corps and that I was able to take advantage of the experiences that come with being an officer sooner than others.”

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Page Last Modified on 3/26/2018

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