Staff Nurse Practioner
In the past year or so that she’s been part of the Neurology team at Vanderbilt, staff nurse practitioner Kristen Bromaghim has expanded her clinic to include both stroke and cognitive neurology practice. Her background as a primary care practitioner gives her a unique, wide lens with which to view neurology cases. In her free time, she enjoys learning new things, most recently through golf and dance lessons, as well as DIY projects and travel.
Tell us about your background and how your path led to Vanderbilt.
I grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I went to school in the Shenandoah Valley and got my BSN at James Madison University in Harrisburg. Upon completion of the program, I worked on the surgical/trauma stepdown unit. I was inspired by the nurse practitioners I met and worked with during that time and decided to enroll in the MSN/Nurse Practitioner program at Vanderbilt. I graduated in 2018 and moved to Iowa, where I worked as a primary care provider in a very small, rural town. After that, I returned to Nashville and worked as an inpatient neurology nurse practitioner at Saint Thomas West for two years. Then I joined the outpatient Neurology team at Vanderbilt, which has been a wonderful experience thus far.
What attracted you to Neurology?
My first experience in neurology was during a student nurse externship and later in my career as a travel nurse. As a nurse, my exposure to neurology was primarily limited to strokes, which helped me transition into the neurology nurse practitioner role at Saint Thomas. The role was challenging but also rewarding—there is quite a bit of hope to be had in stroke neurology. People are resilient, and working with a team to promote their recovery was a great experience. However, inpatient neurology was not an environment where I could establish long-term relationships with my patients, which I had really enjoyed during my time in Iowa. Joining the team at Vanderbilt was the perfect opportunity to continue working in neurology and develop long standing relationships with my patients.
What have been some highlights of your time at Vanderbilt so far?
Expanding my practice beyond stroke and into cognitive neurology as well has been a highlight at Vanderbilt so far. Cognitive neurology is not an area I would have had exposure to in the acute setting. Learning this new specialty and working with a supportive team of MDs and APPs has been great. I am proud of our brain health clinic, which recently reopened, and our post-acute COVID clinic, which is relatively new. These clinics seem to really help patients struggling with cognitive symptoms and can connect them to the right care and resources. I credit my ability to grow as a provider to the supportive environment that I get to work in here at Vanderbilt.
What traits in yourself do you consider unique and valuable for your job?
My background in primary care helps me see outside the neurology lens, particularly in the Brain Health Clinic where we’re looking for modifiable factors in patients’ lives that we can use to improve their cognition. I’m uniquely suited for that role because of my non-neurology experience. I take the time to go through these factors with them and when we uncover something treatable that is directly tied to their cognitive symptoms, it's very rewarding.
How do you spend your time when not working?
I like to learn new things. Last year I took golf lessons. This year I talked my fiancee (I’m currently wedding planning!) into dance lessons. I like to travel and see new places. I haven’t gone abroad recently, but just went to Austin and had a blast. Anywhere where you can see new places, meet new people and explore is ideal! I also think it’s fun to do DIY home upgrades. I just learned to make a board-and-batton wall. My parents moved to Nashville in January, so it's been fun helping them get settled. They like to boat, so we have definitely enjoyed boating on Old Hickory Lake too!
What does your dream vacation look like?
I would love to go to Greece and spend more time there. I have fond memories there, including the trip we took to bring my Grandfather back to Sparta, where his parents were born. We also had a chance to stay with some of my mother's side of the family in Athens. I'd love to return and revisit some of these places as well as explore more of the islands.
What are you reading/watching/listening to?
I’m a podcaster for sure. I like the Jordan Harbinger Show. He does very interesting and thought-provoking interviews and gives practical advice.
What do you like to do in Nashville?
We really like stand-up comedy. Our favorite comedian, Nate Bargatze, is actually from Nashville, so my fiance and I recently went to see him. We also like going to sporting events, mostly hockey and soccer. Our dog, Woodson, keeps us busy too!