When my grandmother (my mother’s mother, who we lovingly called Nana) was taken to a hospital by ambulance, my mother and I arrived by car a short time later.
I was just ten years old and in a hospital for the first time.
We hurried across the large lobby and stopped at the polished pink front desk.
A hospital representative wearing a jacket in the same pink color moved towards us.
At the desk, I stood staring at my mother’s face. I had never seen her eyes filled with tears.
She struggled to ask the hospital representative for help to locate Nana.
The representative did not answer the question but abruptly announced, “You have to be 16 years old to be a visitor here.”
Tears now poured down my mother’s face.
A few moments later, I felt her hand let go of mine.
Without saying a word, my mother turned and began walking down the narrow hallway. I watched until I couldn’t see her anymore. She was on her way to visit Nana alone.
I felt my heartbreak.
Although a child, I understood rules and a policy.
But I couldn’t understand why you had to make my mother cry.
Then my heartbreak turned to fear as I imagined how other hospital representatives might talk to Nana – while she was alone and sick.
I worried if she had been made to cry too.
As I sat waiting, I promised I’d learn what went on in a hospital to spare my family and others from this unnecessary suffering. At that moment, I understood how much words matter and how feeling like someone cares matters too.
So, as an adult, nearly everywhere I worked, some form of patient advocacy was at its core, especially later as I achieved my goal to become a registered nurse.
Now, after almost 20 years as a nurse, hospital policies have certainly changed, but the need to improve how we communicate everywhere in health care persists.
While a nurse, I shared or witnessed 1,000s of patient-healthcare provider conversations to learn what can make communicating go well or – terribly wrong.
As I cared for patients on ventilators in critical care, as a visiting nurse in patient’s homes, with new mothers and their sweet newborns, or as a nurse navigator advocating for patients having back surgery, their courage and resiliency always amazed me.
But their difficult patient experiences pushed me to follow my promise to stop the suffering.
So I left the role I loved as a nurse navigator to start my own business, where I now help women have a whole new approach to communicating for their health.
With few conversations as significant or scary as talking with a doctor, lifting women with strategies, tools, and a plan of action so they can confidently engage in their health and impact their quality of life means everything.
Here you’ll find a private online community and a safe space for health-conscious women to have conversations about how we talk to doctors.
Inspired by those I’ve met along the way, I try to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible while knowing it changes over time. I enjoy green juices when I can and always appreciate my morning cup of coffee or two (thank you, coffee, for all you do). I take delight in flowers and plants – to look at and to eat. The more greens on my plate, the bigger the smile – thankful to be nourished. I love simple joys best – walks, beaches, November skies, and creating memories with family and friends. I hang out with super supportive, dynamic women – I hope you’ll discover the support and positive energy waiting for you here.
Master of Nursing Science, Mount St. Mary’s University, Los Angeles, CA
Focused on Leadership and Administration
Bachelor of Nursing Science, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA
Associate Degree of Nursing, College of the Canyons, Valencia, CA
Earned Registered Nurse License
Storyteller, studied with renowned storyteller Barbara H. Clark, Institute of Musical Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Certified Public Speaking Coach, studied with Craig Valentine, The 1999 World Champion of Speaking
Public Speaker, studied with Toastmasters International