Empathetic Partnership is an interdisciplinary framework for health care providers and other helping professionals to create effective and meaningful partnerships with patients and clients. It is based on the concepts of New Zealand nursing's cultural safety and the work of US sociologist Brene Brown. It is comprised of six key elements: reflection, environment, language, knowledge, partnership and empathy. I used women of sexual minority as the exemplar population to describe Empathetic Partnership. While Empathetic Partnership improves care for all populations, it is especially useful when helping professionals use this framework with minority populations.

The We Belong Project is my home for blogging and a space where I invite patients and health care providers to come and start important conversations about what it means to be in partnership together. You'll find some posts are more medical resources while others are personal stories. I often write with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) populations in mind as I am passionate about addressing the health inequities with these populations. I am also passionate about reminding patients that they are the experts of themselves and their bodies.

My Story

My name is Nicole Flemmer and I created The We Belong Project because of my own desire to tap into my own sense of belonging and to extend that idea to other women who may be struggling with that. I also wanted to create a place to start a conversation between health care providers and women of sexual minority.  As both a nurse practitioner and a lesbian patient accessing health care myself, I have felt both the pain and agony of being mistreated as a patient and the frustrations of working as a health care provider in a system that doesn't always encourage whole-person healing or individualized pictures of health. I created Empathetic Partnership alongside my mentors, Dawn and Lida, to create a way for health care professionals to understand and implement ways to bridge the gap between themselves and their patients by creating a trusting partnership.

A little bit about me personally

I am obsessed with personal growth. I love Brandi Carlile, drives in the country, nature and journaling. I am also starry eyed when it comes to all things Bren√©  Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert.   I currently work in a gynecologic oncology practice. I live in Seattle, Washington with my two french bulldogs, Cooper and Higgins.