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University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Nurse Practitioner training at Vanderbilt University Nashville TN

Board Certification:
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care

Why did you choose to practice pediatrics?
I have always known I wanted to work with children. Children are fascinating, honest, and everything that happens to them will ultimately affect the kind of adults they become. If we work to foster positive child development, we change the world.

Also – kids are just more fun.

What is most rewarding about your work?
The most rewarding aspect of my work in pediatric urgent care is getting a child and family through a scary or painful situation without any trauma and working to turn a negative situation into a positive memory. I am always learning new ways to communicate with families and interact with children of all ages to ease fears, relieve pain, and convey a deep sense of caring and teamwork.

In my role as a professor, I get to train students how to give atraumatic care to children as well. I also teach future nurses never to make assumptions. We have to establish a dialogue with a variety of patients and constantly expand our education and worldview; the challenge of pediatric care is very rewarding.

How does being a parent help in the way you provide care and work with your patients and their families?
I know what it feels like to be vulnerable as a parent bringing the people you love most in the world to a stranger. You never know what the experience will be like and interactions in health care can be wonderful or traumatic. I never want anyone to feel disrespected, invisible, or discounted, especially when they are at their most vulnerable. Every child and family deserves to feel protected. I have felt both deeply seen and deeply wounded by healthcare providers in my experience as a parent; I want to be the type of provider who makes children and families feel comforted and seen.

When working with your patients and their families, what is your approach?
I believe the child’s primary guardian is the expert on their care. There are times when information needs to be translated and explained in a way that makes more sense to someone outside of the medical field, but a good communicator should be able to relay that information in a way that allows the child’s guardian to participate in decision-making. I often present what we know based on research and then ask the family what direction they would like to take; I like to give options. I also try to give education on what to expect and possible things that could go wrong and what to do if that happens. This prevents a lot of anxiety later.

How do you stay healthy and happy?
I think one of the most important elements of human health and happiness is the quality of our relationships. My primary focus is on the well-being of my children and family. I am not perfect, but I am always refining my relationship with my kids. I also work to support and spend time with my friends, colleagues, and my students. I take a lot of time to work on myself individually through journaling, meditation, self-development, and rest so I can give to others with the rest of my time.

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