Hello Wise Patients! As the newest member of the WP team, I wanted to take some time to introduce myself to this community and share a bit about my philosophy of care.
I was born and raised in New England, and have been a Seattlite since 2005. I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and religious anthropology from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and one in nursing from Seattle University. My Nurse Practitioner training was a Master’s degree in Nursing from Georgetown University. I’ve always found that taking the road less traveled has given me a lot of perspective and my path through medical training was perhaps a bit curvier than my practice partners’. I started off as a certified doula for childbirth and labor support. I was a Case Manager in a social work firm for children and adults with spinal cord and brain injuries, worked as a surgical technician in an abortion clinic, was an RN in medical/surgical care, community and refugee health, and maternity care. I’ve gotten to be a part of many kinds of medical care teams, which has always given me a “big picture view” of how all the different aspects of the medical system work together.
So Why Be a Nurse Practitioner and Not a Doctor?
Doctors and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are similar in many ways. We can all prescribe medications, diagnose and identify diseases and injuries, be in charge of a patient’s primary care, order and interpret lab tests and x-rays. So why would I choose to be a Nurse Practitioner instead of an MD? There are some key philosophical differences in the approach to training of nurses that resonate with my own values of empowerment of others and community building.
Doctors are trained to be experts in labeling and treating disease processes, whereas nurses are trained to be experts in a patient’s experience of a disease process. This functionally means that we have advanced training in communicating and educating patients about what is happening with their health, and what to expect with health outcomes in the future. It also means we have the training to implement wider scale projects to improve the health of whole communities, and focus on models of prevention of health crises.
What is your approach to patient care?
Many of the strategies I use in patient care are based on a philosophy called Trauma-Informed Care. For me, this is the radical idea of building our healthcare system based on the needs of those humans who have had the least access to healthcare and the worst experiences with it. What would it be like to go see your provider in a place where all the challenges in your life have been acknowledged as contributing to your ability to get well? What if going to the doctor meant collaborating and making shared decisions, instead of following rules? What would it be like to know you could say no to being weighed at the office, or could decline a pelvic exam, and not be worried that you would leave empty handed? Ultimately, my own experiences as a nurse, and as a member of the LGBTQI+ community have made me committed to the belief that every person has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and has the right to access healthcare that is specifically tailored to their lived experience of the world. This set of beliefs is something I am lucky to share with all of the Wise Patient staff, and why I’m so excited to be a part of this new practice community.