I graduated with my nursing degree from the University of Alabama in 1996. I began my nursing career here at VUMC that summer as a staff nurse in the MICU. While working in the MICU, I completed my Master's degree in Adult Acute Care at Vanderbilt School of Nursing. In 2001, I took a job as an NP with the Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary Team. I spent 10 years with this team and developed a love for transplant. Transplant is a unique environment. It is the perfect marriage between surgery and medicine and it requires a team approach from those 2 disciplines at every turn. In 2010, I moved to GI Medical Oncology where I worked for 3 years before returning to the Transplant Center.
My current role is with the Adult Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program. I started with this team in 2014. We transplant approximately 200 patients a year. I see these patients in the hospital alongside my surgeons and residents. They transition at discharge to our NP run post -operative clinic. In this clinic, I manage their immunosuppressants, wounds, and psychosocial needs. This program has provided me great autonomy in my practice while at the same time encouraging teamwork and commitment to holistic care.
The most rewarding component of my job is watching patients get their lives back. They are no longer hostage to a dialysis schedule and can now freely and fully participate in life. By the same token, it is challenging to manage the many facets of this complex post- operative course so that these organs are maintained. While organ donation is excellent in the state of TN, there is still a huge number of patients waiting, some of which will die before receiving an organ.
Transplant has afforded me many professional opportunities. I have been able to serve in a lead NP role, mentor, and precept both undergraduate and graduate students, lead and develop education programs for our inpatient unit, provide lecture series to the nursing school and clinic, develop evidence based protocols, serve on the APN council. I have also been involved in research and had the opportunity to present abstracts and posters at national meetings
My husband and I have been blessed beyond measure to have built our family through adoption. We have 2 wild and crazy boys, Richard, 5 and John Paul, 3. In our free time, we can be found at the soccer field, on the basketball court or at various parks around town. My husband and I love to travel, spend time with friends and try new foods. We are involved in our church and enjoy serving others as we have been given much in our lives.