How long have you been a nurse and what areas of nursing did you or do you currently work in? I have worked with healthcare organizations 1979 when I started as an ER admitting clerk when I was 19. After graduating from Creighton University in 1987, I worked as a critical care nurse until 2003.
What led you to pursue law and mediation? I became interested in health policy in nursing school and became involved in Bob Kerry's first senate campaign in 1988. My interest in working in the public health arena, particularly health policy as a means of improving patient care delivery led me to law school in 1989. During law school, I learned about a program in Preventive Law, fashioned after the public health model, and began to learn about mediation as a means of resolving disputes rather than litigation. At that time, mediation was not as widely used and it was just touched on in law school. That is not the case now where law students are routinely exposed to mediation and other alternatives to litigation. I moved to Los Angeles after graduation in 1992 and I did 40-hour mediation training through the LA County Bar Ass. in 1994.
Tell me your biggest concerns about nursing. In my work now as a conflict specialist and executive coach, I am most bothered by the difficulty of the work environments that nurses are working within and how depleted nurses are trying to provide care to patients within a compliance and cost driven system. The need for nurses to make intentional choices for their own self-care and to develop reflective practices to maintain their own resilience and stay grounded in the values that underlie the practice of nursing is growing. I love helping nurses develop practices to help them restore their own well-being so that they can better do the work they were called to do.
What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance? What throws me off balance is when I have not paid attention to my own resilience and I find myself taking in too much of other people's energy into my own body. This depletes me and it makes it easier for me to be "hooked" by my own triggers or habits. This imbalance can lead me to move to far into a "rescue" mode and take on work that belongs to others. To rebalance myself I do a number of practices including: Journaling almost daily, working out (my goal is 5 times per week), regular sleep when I am not traveling, being in nature (I need a lot of this), reading poetry and authors who inspire me and give me a larger perspective, good nutrition and hydration (this works like magic!), and spending time with people who bring me joy and love to play! As you can see, rebalancing is a full time job for me!