What are your specialties and certifications?
Registered Nurse, AANP certified as Family Nurse Practitioner.
Is there any other notable training we should know about?
Sleep Medicine, Emergency and Urgent Care, Family Practice.
Why did you go into medicine? Why did you choose your particular field?
I am a lifelong learner and love to discover new things. Medicine allows
me to quench that need to consistently learn new things whether it be
a new medical breakthrough or being humbled by the humanity of a patient.
I am fascinated by the complexities of the human mind and body and what
it is capable of enduring. I thrive on the pursuit to obtain answers and
make discoveries with the ones I work with. It is very fulfilling to empower
others to master their own health and pursue their own answers. I don't
think medicine should be a cookie cutter approach and I believe that others
should be supported where they are at right now and not where we think
they should be. I chose family practice because I wanted to take care
of all humans across the lifespan. Family Practice allows you to make
real connections with the people of the community and to know their families.
Working with families in primary care allows me to practice what I love,
and that is holistic medicine of all the pillars of health: mind, body,
What are some of your clinical interests?
I find it all very fascinating but in the last few years of my practice,
and having gone through my own tough life experiences, I have been especially
interested in understanding the impact of chronic stressors on an individual's
total health. I think that most don't understand what the true definition
is and therefore, they miss the signs.
What do you love about practicing medicine?
I, like most humans, have the occasional day where I would love to have
peace and quiet in the mountains without work. I can truly, wholeheartedly
say that I never am disgruntled about what I do. I don't consider
this "work". I would rather think of what I do as being a discoverer,
mediator, and healer. I love the connections. My heart is so happy when
I can turn someone's fear, sadness, anger in to a smile, giggle, and
hope. I enjoy the stories I am told and get satisfaction from figuring
out the puzzle and guiding the person through the healing process. I am
humbled by the stories I hear; they keep me grounded and appreciative
of life and help me focus on the important things. I gain as much knowledge,
insight, humanity, healing, from "practicing medicine" as the
folks that trust me with their care.
"I chose family practice because I wanted to take care of all humans
across the lifespan. Family Practice allows you to make real connections
with the people of the community and to know their families."
What is your philosophy of care?
Non-judgmental, supportive, holistic, empowering, education-focused, patient-directed,
What do you most want people to know about the way you practice medicine?
I am first, a human, not a computer. I seek truth and answers when I don't
have them and I'm humble enough to tell you when I don't know
the answer.......yet. I believe in providing all of the information I
have and explaining all the options I know of, when choosing your care.
I have my own boundaries but I am not someone who is going to be pushy
and I accept people where they are at and walk beside them when they are
ready for change. I'm a great cheerleader and I use a whole lot of
humor because life is just easier when you can laugh. Laughter releases
endorphins and has its own healing power. Nothing I'm told surprises
me, so I don't judge, nor do I want to be judged. I think all people
have a story and I'm happy to be in one of the chapters.
What can your patients expect during an appointment?
To learn something new and to potentially laugh, a lot. To hopefully feel
loved and truly cared about, safe and secure in the fact that I take my
roll very seriously in ensuring you are taken care of.
What do you wish you could tell every patient (and they would actually
do) and why?
It is never too late to start taking care of yourself. It is not selfish.
Selfcare and boundaries are healthy. Get outside! Sun shine, fresh air,
wind in the trees, sound of birds, cool breeze on your face does a whole
lot of good for the mind, body, and spirit. Love yourself and who you
are, right now, right as you are, in all of your wonder. You have a brilliant story.
What have your patients taught you?
Humility, compassion, to focus on what is important in life, to overcome,
that it is okay not to be perfect, that I'm not alone in this world
and we are all connected. I've learned home repair skills, horsemanship
tips, cooking prep, international culture. They have taught me just how
precious having your health truly is. I've learned just how meaningful
it is to people to be "heard".
Who is someone you admire, and why?
My dear friend, Joyce. Never have I met a woman so strong. She has what
I would like to master and that is the ability to be both soft and fierce
at the same time. Her compassion mixed with the ability to set me straight
and make me feel loved simultaneously. So multitalented in the various
facets of life. Never judging, just accepting of me, right where I'm at.
Where did you grow up?
Army brat so I was born in Georgia and moved away when I was 6, returning
when I was 14. I have lived in TX, NC, TN, CA, CT, AL, GA, MT. I don't
think I knew what "where are you from" actually meant until
I was in high school.
What brought you to the Bitterroot Valley?
A dream! I have always wanted to work like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, in
a wild, beautiful, place surrounded by mountains. I read the Nicholas
Evans books that painted a spectacular picture of my dream, which turns
out was Montana. I didn't know if, or when it would ever come to fruition.
I get a call from my friend and former colleague, Dr. Woody Jones saying
"Hey girl. Got a job with your name on it. Time to "poo"
or get off the pot". Well, I guess I "pooed" because here
I am and it is the best adventure to date.
"I have a passion for "liberty" work with horses...I wanted
to be a veterinarian before I became an NP. I still love to doctor on
my own, and other's, critters. I like tough-looking trucks."
What do you enjoy about living and working in a small community like ours?
The connections and understanding of the challenges others face are easier
when you are submersed and interacting during everyday life.
Living in such a close-knit community, how do you create a successful work–life balance?
Well, I don't know that I am successful yet but I can tell you I am
a work in progress. I have to learn to do what I teach, take care of myself.
So, I hop on my beautiful gelding, River, and take off to the hills.
What are some of your non-professional interests and favorite hobbies?
My 8 year old son and I love many of the same things. We have 3 dogs we
love to play with. Hiking and exploring the outdoors, fishing, riding
our horses, working on our property, spending time with those we love,
reading, learning something new, refinishing a piece of furniture, remodeling
or designing something in the house and the list goes on.
Is there anything about you that might surprise people?
I used to be a 3-day eventer in the equestrian world. I have a passion
for "liberty" work with horses. I like to "fix" things
around the house. I am an extremely hard worker and will sometimes work
from sun up to sun down on my property fixing fence, tractor work, irrigating
my land, designing rooms in the house on a tight budget. I like nifty
time-saving tools and tough-looking trucks. I speak quite a bit of Spanish.
I wanted to be a veterinarian before I became an NP and still love to
doctor on my own, and other's critters.
What would be your personal motto?
Be yourself, be kind, be courageous, and failure is part of life.
Do you have pets?
Two horses (River and Lucy) - both quarter horses. Three dogs (Blue, Dori,
Noble) - an Australian Shepherd, Anatolian Shepherd, and a Corgi. One
cat - named "Pretty".