MY PATH TO INTEGRATIVE HEALTHCARE
I am a 2004 graduate of the Yale School of Nursing as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, specializing both in Primary Care and Chronic Illness Care/Diabetes Care. Even as a young child, I was very interested in the healthcare field and the ideal of healing and wellness. I was obsessed with physiology and amazed by many of the human body's natural abilities. I was also intimately aware of the mind body connection in this process and the importance of resiliency and mental toughness. In kindergarten, I began telling everyone that I wanted to be a pediatrician. As I got older, I became more interested in the relationships physicians built with their patients and I really wanted to be involved in healing, helping, and teaching children and families. While I was in undergrad at the Ohio State University, I worked at the hospital as a patient care assistant on a post-partum unit. I absolutely loved this job....it helped me solidify my love of the medical field and realize that I wanted all the information I could get and autonomy; however, this was a time when managed care was changing and I met a lot of very grumpy pediatricians. I spent a lot of time talking with parents/patients and other medical providers and started to worry that the physician route was not for me.....but what was I going to do now?? That was when I met a midwife and fell in love with her approach to care. I went to the school of nursing at Ohio State to find out more about midwifery and they told me about Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, which growing up in Ohio I had NEVER even heard of at the time. Yale was an AMAZING program....I was home, learning vast amounts of knowledge from global leaders in healthcare while also embracing proactive care and patient education....the program was a perfect fit for me!
Upon graduation I was recruited by Cincinnati Children's Diabetes Center and so back to the Midwest I headed. I was there for five years as a work horse on the team, innovative thinker and always putting patient care ahead of everything else, huge patient advocate and so I developed a large, loyal patient following quickly. However, as part of a large medical system I quickly found that I was kind of on my own island and so the hours were long and I was not a great team member to say the least. Shortly after the birth of my first daughter and down-grading to part-time, things started to unravel. I still enjoyed patient care but working for a larger institution where I didn't feel supported was not working out. Everything came down to money and measures and showing outcomes instead of patient centered care. I made the decision to leave the hospital and joined a small private practice, Muddy Creek Pediatrics in Mason, of two pediatricians and another PNP to work part-time and dive back in to primary care pediatrics. I also continued to see a small subset of diabetes patients that followed me and provide their primary care as well.
The transition to primary care was a little rough for me and the longer I was in it the more I found myself frustrated and angry. I also was feeling very trapped. There was so much polypharmacy and again money appeared to be the motivating factor. I tried my best to educate, talk about healthy lifestyle habits - exercise, importance of healthy diets, family time, decreased screen time - but many times met with resistance. Many times I would spend extra time talking with a family about the child's virus and that they needed rest, fluids, healthy foods, etc just to find out that the returned to the office a day or two later to see another provider and get an antibiotic. Finally over the summer of 2016 after 7 years in primary care and the birth of my third daughter, we spent five weeks in Italy and I finally had the time and space to really think about what I wanted to do and so I decided to not return to the practice after my maternity leave.
I spent much of 2016/2017 learning and delving into Integrative Medicine and found this is where I wanted and needed to be!! I completed a certification as a Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition*, where I studied a variety of dietary theories and practical lifestyle coaching methods. With my knowledge and exyensive training, together we will develop completely personalized actions based on you and your child's goals to move them toward their ideal vision of health within their unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and resources. I've always known there was a better model of medicine and helping the body naturally heal itself and promoting wellness beginning with children and families is so important - it was the way I envisioned medicine when I was younger, not what it has evolved to these days. As an Integrative Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, I put the power back in YOU and YOUR child's hands.