I started in healthcare in 1986. Now that I am 49 years old, I have over 29 years of professional experience in the field. This is coupled with varied personal and academic training in contemplative practices. My educational background includes graduate coursework in Eastern Philosophy and Western Mysticism at Western Michigan University (1991-1993). I received a BA in Psychology in 1990 from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY followed by a BSN from D’Youville College in 1997. As a registered nurse I have specialized in several areas including; trauma/emergency care, post-op organ transplant, medical/surgical nursing, oncology and palliative care. I am currently working as a palliative care nurse liaison. In 2017 I was 1 of 6 finalists for the Schwartz Center Compassionate Care providers in the nation.
I am passionate about promoting resilience in health care and I have been involved in co-facilitating (with Maria Tussi Kluge) the first resiliency retreats at the UVA School of Nursing (beginning in 2009). I currently lead weekly Wednesday morning (6:00 a.m.) meditation sessions and co-facilitate nursing student introductory resiliency retreats for the Compassionate Care Initiative at the University of Virginia Nursing School.
I have led retreats for the community, healthcare providers and first responders. I have mentored countless nurses, physicians and EMS providers throughout my career. I am a podium presenter on topics varying from non-pharmacologic pain management, compassion, resiliency in healthcare, breaking difficult news as a first responder, the importance of resiliency in first responders, and palliative care.
My interests are multifaceted and varied. I am a trauma nurse, a palliative care liaison, a resiliency retreat facilitator, an educator, an artist, a mentor, a writer, a father, a podium speaker, a resiliency coach and a partner in an innovative hot sauce company called Mad Hatter Foods.
My greatest interest lies in improving how healthcare providers care for their patients and themselves. My goal as a Palliative Liaison is not only to offer palliation to patients and their families, but also to help palliate the suffering that accompanies working in the healthcare profession. I want to leave this world a much better place than when I entered it.