This is a great question. I have been thinking about writing this post for some time but have neglected to do so because I was unsure if I could convey the importance of having a clinician who thinks more integratively. However, today, I am choosing to give it my best effort.

I am a conventionally trained clinician with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing and Public Health, and a Doctoral degree in Nursing. I went to nursing school and continued to return because I wanted to help people improve their health; I didn’t like seeing people suffer. However, over the 24 years that I have been in the nursing field, I noticed that I started becoming more disillusioned with nursing and the medical field in general.

When it comes to an acute issue (i.e., heart attack, stroke, trauma, etc.), Western medicine hits the ball out of the park. But, when we start looking at chronic disease management (diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, etc.) Houston, we have a problem! It is a revolving door of pills, doctors’ visits, and diagnostic tests, but things do not improve. Look at the statistics listed on the various public health websites (i.e., The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health) and see billions of dollars spent each year on medications, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, etc. But health outcomes are not improving! Several have worsened over the past few years.

Western medicine falls short if we focus on health promotion and disease prevention again. When did your primary care clinician last ask about your diet? How many hours a night are you sleeping? Or voiced concerns that your fasting glucose was slowly creeping up and pre-diabetes is a concern? Vitamin D is not just for our bones and teeth; even in the Sunshine State, most people are vitamin D deficient. When was the last time you had this level checked with standard blood work (I will wait for you to answer)?

With my health struggles that included dysmenorrhea (painful cycles) and fibroids, not once were dietary changes discussed, using supplements such as vitamin E or omega 3s mentioned, or hormonal testing ever suggested. Instead, it was oral contraceptives, procedures, and eventually, a hysterectomy! Since 2020, we have had a front-row seat to the madness and mayhem that can occur when profits, power, and politics are elevated over people!

So why integrative medicine? This type of care recognizes you as a human being and not a number. The root cause of a health issue is addressed starting with the basics: what you eat, how often you exercise, how many hours of sleep you get at night, what toxins you are exposed to, and what your stress level is like. It combines aspects of both allopathic and Eastern medicine to provide more well-rounded care for the patient.

I can prescribe medications such as metformin (for diabetes) or amlodipine (for hypertension) if needed. Still, I can also discuss how berberine (for diabetes) or nitric oxide (for hypertension) can be beneficial. I can discuss with my patients why a GI map would help evaluate symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, and even anxiety and depression. I can order more thorough laboratory tests to assess if a patient is suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is on the rise, and create a plan to help improve symptoms. Dietary changes, intermittent fasting, and increasing water intake are all beneficial to one’s health, and these are additional things that can be addressed during a patient visit.

The road has been challenging. But I enjoy being a nurse practitioner, helping my patients, and seeing their health improve. If you are looking for an integrative clinician who treats you like a person and not a number, call us!

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