Why Practice Medicine in These Trying Times?

I have always had an interest in caring for people. When I was a teenager I joined the St. John's Ambulance Brigade in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. I always enjoyed taking care of the hockey players who received traumatic injuries during the hockey games.

I supported my education through nursing school in Toronto canada, working as a nurses aide. When I graduated from nursing school I moved to Houston, Texas.

While in Houston, as a nurse, I progressed from floor to intensive care nursing, flight nursing and ultimately trained as an EMT and paramedic for the Houston fire department. During that time I completed a bachelor degree in biomedicine at the University of Houston.

While working as a nurse and transitioning to working in the intensive care at Herman Hospital; I spent quite a bit of time working with severely burned patients. I frequently spent 12 to 16 hours in a stretch working with patients who had up to 80-90% body surface area burns.

I believe that this was the experience that strengthened my sense of compassion towards my patients pain and the sense of victimization that ensues when we face the overwhelming medical system and a risk of loss of life and independence.

While caring for the burn patients I was able to clearly visualize the need for a sense of personal will to live; faith and hope in the face of great pain and despair.

This experience fostered the development of my commitment to pain management. With a focus towards completing as thorough a work-up as possible and formulating the least aggressive and invasive treatments initially in the treatment plan. Progressing to more invasive treatment modalities only as necessary.

I have an innate ability to communicate; human to human; soul to soul that has been present since my birth and has directed me towards the medical field. My extensive experience in nursing before and during medical school has perfected these skills.

In total, I was a nurse for greater than 20 years before and during medical school.

I completed my anesthesia residency at the University of Washington and then proceeded to complete a fellowship in Pain Management.

My fellowship was very comprehensive and involved extensive evaluation of the most complex patient's using a biopsychosocial approach to all aspects of patient workup, diagnosis and treatment plan. It had a multispecialty focus with anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and physical rehabilitation physicians. Also rehabilitation of chronic pain patients with L & I/ auto-accident claims.

I then completed a two year fellowship at the University of Arizona, at Tucson, under Dr Andrew Weil and the center for Integrative Medicine. This has allowed me to expand my approach to care, now incorporating more complementary and alternative treatment modalities.

I have always been flexible in the way I approach my patients and I feel that I frequently learn as much from my patients as they do from me.

I feel it especially important to maintain my small independent practice so that I can determine how many patients I see during the day. This allows me to deliver more comprehensive care with a more cost effective administrative overhead.

As my practice continues, I see the possibility of including more teaching with potential for classes and small group/interactive approaches; focusing on different integrative medicine topics.

I already have many patients who have benefited from my fellowship. We are working together to increase our understanding of how we can assume more personal control over our health, immune system function, well being and progress towards aging in a more graceful/less painful manner.

I am focused more on primary/general care utilizing the integrative fellowship training; however, will always maintain my commitment to assisting my clients who have pain; transitioning to a more holistic approach.