I knew at age 14 that I wanted to be a nurse. I attended the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, graduating with a BSN in 1975. Yet I just knew there was more to it than could be explained by the medical model we were taught. In my continued search for those explanations, I entered the Master's program in nursing at Texas Woman's University, Dallas, TX. My clinical experiences were primarily with acute trauma and the resulting long-term consequences. I worked with Dr. Jeanne Achterberg Lawlis learning guided imagery for pain management with clients who had sustained severe burn injuries. The pain control for these clients was phenomenal, using mind over matter, and once they learned the techniques, no narcotic pain meds were needed. I graduated from the Master's program in 1979, with Clinical Nurse Specialist certification. I continued to use guided imagery in my work with clients who were post trauma in the ICU and with labor and delivery coaching. Oftentimes the clients were able to manage pain and the anxiety without any drugs.
My search next introduced me to the energy therapy called Therapeutic Touch. Working with the energy field explained many things for me - how we often know things, or we sense things or feel things that aren't explainable in the medical world. My doctoral dissertation research looked at clients with arthritis and the effect of Therapeutic Touch (experimental group) and progressive muscle relaxation (control group) on their pain, anxiety, and functional ability. Both therapies decreased pain and anxiety and improved functional ability. But Therapeutic Touch was more effective. Some clients were able to stop pain medications; some found the pain medications gave better relief with Therapeutic Touch. I continued with the energy therapy, Healing Touch, during my doctoral work, earning certification as a practitioner in 1996. I've published research on the positive effects of energy therapies. I'm certified internationally as both a practitioner of Healing Touch and as an instructor to teach Levels 1 and 2 of a 5 level curriculum.
My doctoral work was clinically focused in gerontology and integrative therapies. This included more than 600 hours of clinical practice with the nurse practitioner training. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1996 with the PhD. I was certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 1996 (board certification as a specialist in gerontology). I maintain that board certification along with WI state authority to prescribe medications.
My clinical practice as a nurse includes ICU with a focus on neurology and trauma, general floor nursing, home care nursing, and teaching nursing at UW-Eau Claire. I've taught bachelors, masters, and doctoral level students, and supervised their clinical practice. I've worked as a nurse practitioner with adults and elders since 1996, both in clinics and as part of my teaching responsibilities. I left teaching in 2013 to begin my private integrative practice with the Optima Health & Vitality Clinic. My Health Office Co. works collaboratively with the providers at Optima to provide the best care possible for our clients. We strive to find the cause of your health problems and focus treatment there.
Integrative therapies I use include relaxation techniques, guided imagery, Healing Touch, nutritional therapy (both oral and IV), and ozone therapy, including MAH, prolozone, and direct application techniques. In addition, I provide routine medical care such as annual exams, physical exams in preparation for surgery or a procedure, and routine lab work. Clients I work with often have long-term chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, digestive problems among many other chronic disorders.
My husband is Tom. We have 3 sons. Matt and his wife Raquel are both teachers of Spanish and English languages and live in Spain where she is from. Spencer and his wife Megan live in Thailand where Megan does her doctoral work on brucellosis and Spencer is a lawyer. Jeremiah is a paramedic, ski patrol and white water raft racer and guide, and his wife Katie is an OB and neonatal RN and EMT-I. They live in Colorado. Our other kids include Koa, a Husky Shepard mix and Jenny a Collie mix. My hobbies are travel (so I can see my kids!), quilting, reading, playing with the dogs, and playing piano.
My philosophy of practice is that when you listen to the client's story and help them ask the questions, the cause of the illness can be identified. Treat the cause, not just the symptoms. Integrate the therapies, including the mainstream medical components when needed, for the best care.