Dr. Mikal-Flynn received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of San Francisco, a Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s of Science in Nursing at Sacramento State University, publishing the thesis: “A Phenomenological Investigation of Near-Death Event Survivors.” She completed her Doctor of Education with a dissertation entitled: “Transforming Life Crisis: Stories of Metahabilitation After Catastrophic Life Events.”
A marathoner and triathlete, in 1990 she survived a sudden-death event requiring twenty-two minutes of CPR to return to life. Already a nurse practitioner and dismayed at the focus of her recovery and what was presented in the aftermath of her trauma, her mind emphasized the negative, painting a bleak future. However, her master’s and doctoral research focused on posttraumatic growth (PTG) and she created a strength-based clinical pathway guiding survivors toward a productive recovery and PTG. Her first book was Turning Tragedy Into Triumph: Metahabilitation: A Contemporary Model of Rehabilitation, which profiled survivors and detailed a pathway toward PTG. Her work and research continue involving how trauma affects families and communities and recognizing how they experience PTG. A Professor at CSUS, she speaks nationally and internationally on trauma, focusing on resilience and PTG. With multiple publications, her work and research continue to provide strength and hope for those who suffer in the aftermath of trauma.