The Healing Power of Being Met

What I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been a nurse practitioner, is that the most effective way to gain trust, be effective and the biggest opportunity I have to help someone is when I choose to listen. Not to listen to chart, to diagnose, or to come up with my next sentence, but to sit back from my charting, to look someone in the eyes, and to actually listen to hear what they are telling me.

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Reflections on the grief of losing a patient

Your passing, while I knew it was inevitable, completely caught me off guard. It came so quickly, I didn't have time to prepare myself. Although I'm learning I never really can prepare myself for these kinds of things.  If only I would have known the last time I saw you would be the last time I saw you. I would have spent more of our time together looking at you to see you, not looking at you to assess you as my patient.

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An Open Letter To The Busy Doctor

I know you are tired. I know you work long hours and you don’t have enough time to get all the things done you need to. There is so much expected of you every day.

You are expected not only to be a brilliant scientist who knows every body system down to the cellular level but you are also expected to have highly tuned interpersonal skills and plenty of time for each patient.

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Providing Health Care for Your Transgender Patient

I recently worked with a few transgender patients and I realized how much I have to learn about providing a safe and caring health care environment and experience for the trans community.

My colleagues and I have great intentions, but sometimes good intentions are not enough. Learning and practicing safe language and creating an environment that feels inclusive is important. We must include our trans friends, clients, and patients in our considerations of inclusivity and safety for all populations.

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A New Story is Brewing: What I Learned From My Critics

I have been working with my mentors the last few years on a new health care framework called Empathetic Partnership.

It's for all helping professionals and is meant to be a tool to help providers create safe and effective partnerships with patients or clients. It's a six element framework using women of sexual minority as the example of marginalized populations in need of safe and caring health care. It was published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners in September 2014.

My friends at Washington State University wrote a Press Release about this framework in December. It was so well written and one of the best descriptions of my work I've ever seen or been able to articulate myself. I was so honored to have them share my work. A few days after the press release . . .

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The Space In-Between Medicine, Imaging and Us.

Today was one of my favorite kind of clinical days because I got to connect with another human being who happened to also be my patient.

Sitting down to review tests, scans and blood levels, it's easy to get caught up in the science of medicine. Science is no doubt a wonderful part of being in the medical field. Unfortunately for many health care providers (myself included) we can sometimes get so focused on science and outcomes and care plans that we can lose sight of why we do what we do.

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Taking the Leap Into Uncertainty

A few years ago, I went skydiving in Oregon.Sitting on the edge of the plane at 13,000 feet just before a full 60-second free fall was completely terrifying. I knew I wanted to do it, but I didn't have any idea what it would feel like or how I would like it.

There were certainly no guarantees.

In fact, before I was allowed on the plane, I had to sign many, many documents stating that I might die. Or that the prevention of my death could not be guaranteed. Again and again, I initialed and signed.

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Can You Hear Me Now? An Open Letter To Helping Professionals

The following is a beautiful post written by my good friend Melissa M. Wilcox. She is a survivor of IPV (intimate partner violence). For too many years she was silenced. But she is now standing up and speaking out to share her story. This post is written from her perspective as a patient and client interacting with the health care and mental health system. Her story goes to show how one helping professional can make all the difference in the world.

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"The Chemo Is Not For You"

I had the huge privilege of attending a women's conference in Boulder, CO this weekend called Emerging Women.

I went because Brene Brown was speaking and I knew I just had to go. It was a huge treat to see her, and a night I'll never, ever, forget. The Universe also had some other blessings in mind for me as well. Among them, Elizabeth Gilbert gave a great talk on embracing all the magic that is available to us. She emphasized the importance of curiosity. Many speakers got standing ovations. But one speaker left the whole room weeping and speechless: Eve Ensler.

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