Primary Care/Mental Health
As an RN for over 21 years and a Family Nurse Practitioner for over 17 years, I have rich and varied experience. My clinical experience includes inpatient and outpatient mental health, emergency medicine, primary care, and occupational health.
Nursing theory has driven my practice from the earliest part of my nursing career. I identify with and use Hildegard Peplau's Interpersonal Nursing Theory as part of my therapeutic intervention. This model sees the individual as a human being, and allows for interaction between the nurse and the patient/client on a humanistic level. Peplau’s theory extends to Sullivan’s Interpersonal theory, which sees the therapist as a participant observer. As a participant observer, the therapist develops an interpersonal relationship with the client. The nurse/therapist takes on several roles, including:
Stranger: receiving the client the same way one meets a stranger in other life situations provides an accepting climate that builds trust.
Teacher: who imparts knowledge about a need or interest.
Resource Person: one who provides specific needed information that aids in the understanding of a problem or new situation.
Counselor: helps to understand and integrate the meaning of current life circumstances and provides guidance and encouragement to make changes.
Surrogate: helps to clarify domains of dependence, interdependence, and independence and acts on clients behalf as an advocate.
Leader: helps client assume maximum responsibility for meeting treatment goals mutually satisfyingly.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Reality Theory are also utilized in my clinical practice. I understand that everyone in life are trying to get their basic needs met. Whether it’s a person’s attempt at trying to gain Power (which includes achievement and feeling worthwhile as well as winning); achieve Love & Belonging (this includes groups as well as families or loved ones); attain Freedom (includes independence, autonomy, your own 'space'); have Fun (includes pleasure and enjoyment); or to Survive (including gaining nourishment, shelter, or sex), or trying to reach self-actualization, we all strive to reach a life goal. When people attempt to get these things in a negative or maladaptive manner, mental health is impacted.
My Wellness Journey
Where did my road to wellness begin? Well, it began after my 40th birthday. I hated the way I felt and looked. My energy was low, and I felt so bloated. And I did not like the fact that I was always short of breath after going up a flight of stairs, or how uncomfortable I felt in my clothes. It was time for a change. So February 2012, I signed up with a Personal Trainer and started working out. That was the worst experience ever! I was so out of shape. I was also in much pain. My knees popped, and my right hip was in pain (from an old injury…long story). I remember dreading when I knew Anthony (my personal trainer) would come by and work me out. I used to think of excuses I could use to get out of working out.
Well, once I decided to stick it out, it became easier to work out. I started looking forward to working out. The nutrition plan, however, was another challenge. I love sugar and fat (after all, that’s why I was in shape I was in…lots of Haggen Daz and tortilla chips). I struggled to eat proper portion sizes and drink lots of water (yuck!! I do not like the taste of water at all!!!). But again, it did get easier. And when I saw the weight falling off, I was so happy. All the hard work was worth it!!! Now I am 50 pounds lighter and feeling great! But my journey is not made yet…still have a long way to go to reach my goal. I also want to be a role model to all of my patients. Wellness is for all, not for the select few. It is time for us to realize the importance of being well, for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. During this journey, I have learned that health radiates from the inside out. When you are well, those around you also benefit from your wellness.