When I first started training to be a nurse at the University of Colorado, I planned to specialize in women's health. A summer internship in labor & delivery fell through at the last minute and the only clinical experience I could find was on an oncology unit. I was surprised how much I loved taking care of cancer patients and my career path took a turn. After a few years of working in acute care oncology, I realized that what I loved doing most was managing symptoms and helping my patients understand their treatment options. I decided to become a palliative care clinical nurse specialist even though the specialty was very new and few jobs existed in the field at the time. Eventually, I made my way to The Christ Hospital, where I had the opportunity to help create and lead a new palliative care program.
Our program is now 10 years old and thriving. Along with my interdisciplinary team, I work to ease physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms for patients living with and being treated for serious illnesses. People often ask if my work in this field wears me down. It's true that sometimes bearing witness to suffering feels heavy but having the knowledge, skills, and compassion to improve my patients' quality of life is profoundly meaningful. This past year, I started a palliative care clinic for cancer patients. It is gratifying to meet patients and their families early after diagnosis and become a partner in their care over time – through the good times and the bad. Not only has being a palliative care clinical nurse specialist given me the opportunity to provide medical care for seriously ill patients and their families, it has allowed me to engage in program development, research, education, and leadership.
When I moved to away from Denver, I wasn't sure about settling in Cincinnati. Almost 15 years later, I feel lucky to have found such a wonderful community along with my husband, kids, and parents, all while building a tremendously rewarding career at The Christ Hospital.
Did you know that Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and physician assistants? Learn more about APPs at The Christ Hospital Health Network.