I am a nurse with a wide variety of experiences, and a breadth of expertise. All of these experiences have led me to focus on one primary goal in my career: to ease the suffering of individuals and families with health problems, especially those with chronic and serious illnesses.
My approach to achieving this goal is by influencing the way nurses (and nursing students) think, what they value, and how they practice. One of the most important things for nurses to understand is the patient and family experience. This is unique for everyone, and influenced by many different factors, but understanding what some go through can help us tune into what the person in front of us might be going through, and can prompt us to approach them with compassion. Understanding of the uniqueness of each individual and family can help us approach a new person with questions rather than assumptions.
My scholarly work has focused on integrating palliative care philosophies and practices into nursing as well as the use of social media to facilitate professional collaboration in promoting integrated and specialist palliative care for individuals with heart failure. My family life and work have frequently intersected, which have given me a unique appreciation for the realities of living with heart failure and serious illnesses. I believe that the most effective interventions are evidence based and individualized considering the values, preferences and resources, and I try to bring that perspective into my teaching, writing and research. Recent research projects have examined factors that impact the care of patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators and undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of teaching learning strategies. My recent publications have included chapters on palliative care in heart failure in several textbooks and bimonthly column for RNs about palliative and end-of-life care issues in Nursing 2014.