My roles at VUMC have been diverse and rewarding. Initially as a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) nurse practitioner (NP), I educated staff, patients, and families on VAD function and care. I managed the care of these patients who were either waiting for a heart transplant or were to live out their life supported by a VAD. This role encompassed being in the OR assisting with VAD implantation to placement in their home that included community VAD education. I continued to see these patients in clinic for ongoing heart failure management and VAD interrogation and maintenance. My role expanded to include being a Heart Transplant NP and involved assisting a multi-disciplinary team with evaluating advanced heart failure patients for transplantation, managing their heart failure pre-transplant, and once transplanted, managing them as immunocompromised patients in the CVICU and after discharge.
My role completely changed in 2011 when I was given the opportunity to join a new team as a Neurosurgery inpatient NP. In this role, I help manage the care of cerebrovascular patients in the Neuro Care ICU and movement disorder patients after surgery. My focus is to assure that these patients are safe to discharge to home or a rehabilitation facility and provide them and their families with the necessary discharge instructions/education for ongoing care.
Moving from an extensive cardiac background to becoming a neurosurgery novice is extremely challenging. Neurosurgeons, residents and NP colleagues have helped me climb this steep learning curve. Moving to this new specialty allowed me to learn much more and to expand my NP role to care for a more diverse patient population. Daily, I have an opportunity to help patients who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy, essential tremor and Parkinson's disease, by managing their post-operative care and providing individualized education after they have undergone microvascular decompression, neuropace and deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgeries respectively.
Many of my professional accomplishments bring me joy, such as developing a written progressive Neurosurgery Orientation Plan for Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistants, lecturing at Vanderbilt's School of Nursing on Subarachnoid Hemorrhage and Heart Transplantation, presenting classes to Belmont nursing students, presenting AP Grand Rounds on VAD/Transplantation, and having a poster accepted at a national conference for NPs on improved quality of life after DBS surgery. My most important professional accomplishment is working daily, on communications and relationships with patients, families, physicians, advance practice nurses, nurses and the entire health care team.
My interests are reading, movies, quilting and my family. I teach quilting classes and enter quilts to be judged in shows. My husband of 28 years, is a physician at Fort Campbell and we have three children. My daughter is starting at Vanderbilt's School of Nursing to become a mental health NP. I have a son who graduated from Northwestern and is a programmer in Franklin and another son entering graduate school at University of Miami.