I am asked this question a lot. Especially by patients after a consult, when I’m the first one to figure out what the root cause of their health problem is, give them a treatment plan, and, most of all, give them hope that they can achieve optimal health.
“Why aren’t you a doctor?”
Early on, as a pre-Med college student, I volunteered in our local hospital. The nurses seemed to be running the show and, more so, they knew how to talk to patients so they could understand what was happening. Plus, all the female doctors I came in contact with were aged (granted, I was only eighteen at the time) by the time they got married and started to have kids.
The dean was not happy with my decision. “You are at the top of your class. Exceptional in math and hard sciences. You could have your choice of medical schools.” But I wanted it all. Marriage, a family, and a career in health care. So I became a Nurse Practitioner.
It was in nursing school that I really got to appreciate the difference between nursing and medicine. At UCLA, we were taught the bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment of our patients. We learned that health is a continuum. On one end is optimal wellness, on the opposite end, death.
As a Nurse Practitioner, I look at patients through the lens of wellness, not disease. Physicians study pathophysiology, looking at patients through a disease-lens. Conventional medicine tends to focus more attention on treating disease than preventing it and very little attention goes towards trying to optimize health.
Now that this is all the fault of physicians. The blame for this bandage level of health care should be placed on the system. Allowing insurance companies to be third party payers gets between the patient and their health care provider. Plus, insurance companies like to dictate treatment protocol, which handcuffs providers. Then you have got the pharmaceutical companies, whose bottom line is profit, for whom there is more incentive to keep you sick than heal you.
Spending two weeks of my life as a patient in intensive care changed me as a health care provider; Experience is a great teacher. I was discharged from UCLA Medical Center with greater empathy for my patients. I realized at a very personal level how important communication is between health care providers and patients and their families. And I was bound and determined to go to grad school and become a Family Nurse Practitioner, as soon as possible.
My focus is on optimal health. By the time most patients seek health care, they are already past the midway point and heading towards the death side of the health continuum. The first step in helping patients move towards the wellness part of the health continuum is to educate them. And nurses are really good at health education.
Nurse Practitioners are advanced practice nurses, meaning they have higher education and training than the average registered nurse. Nurse Practitioners are licensed to diagnose disease, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications and medical therapies. Different states have different scopes of practice for nurse practitioners but right now in the current health care system, with doctors leaving primary care for specialties, Nurse Practitioners are very much in demand.
Hormone Healing Tip: I educate rather than medicate
My goal is to uncover the root of my patients’ health issues, provide education regarding their disease as well as how to reverse it, and then to help them achieve their highest state of wellness – optimal health – body, mind, and soul.
Yes, it is a tall order. But I have doing it for three decades. And I do it well. People come from around the world to consult with me. Yet I can not help all of them – there is just too many – which is why I am writing this blog series. Educate the masses and help them realize their potential. That is what I hope for: That by reading my blog, you will discover the root of your health issues and how to heal yourself.
Oh, you will still need health care providers, both conventional and alternative. But with the help of this book, you will be better informed and more likely to partner with your health care provider to achieve your health goals.
Excerpt from Hormones in Harmony®.