Health and Wellness Coach and Healthcare Advocate: That is Me!!!

Tina Butt

As I have already mentioned, I am a Nurse Practitioner. I love my job. I wake up every weekday, get ready for work, drive to work, see patients, drive home to spend time with my family. I do this because that is what I am supposed to do, right?!

My nursing career started when I was 19; I met my soon to be husband who had dealt with a life threatening medical issue prior to my meeting him. He would tell stories about the nurses that cared for him in the hospital, where he was healing for weeks. He had so many memories of those nurses and how they helped him get back to life again. At the time, I was in college for Graphic Design, which was my passion all through high school. But, after hearing the impact a person or profession could have on another person, I decided to be a nurse.

So, I started working at a local nursing home as a nursing assistant. I loved caring for the residents and helping the nurses. But, I didn’t like some of the nursing care I witnessed and knew I could do better. So, I went to nursing school and graduated at the top of my class with my ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing). My first nursing job was working full time in a local hospital taking care of post op cardio-thoracic patients on a step down unit. Within 1 year I was transferred to the cardio-thoracic ICU where I spent the remaining years of my bedside nursing career. I watched Medical Residents and Physicians interact with patients, and again, I knew I could do better but did not think I could graduate as a Doctor. To be honest, I loved what nursing stood for; the caring, hand holding, tears wept career that allowed me to learn about life outside of my own. So, I went back to school and got my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) where I again graduated with honors. I graduated on a Saturday, then 2 days later I started college for my Masters Degree in Nursing to get certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner, which is my current full time profession.

My schooling and multiple degrees made my family so proud of me. Trust me, I was very proud of myself; to think, I was the first person in my entire family that went to college and graduated from college with a degree. I enjoyed what I was doing as a NP but I was missing something. I soon had the opportunity to teach a graduate level class at the college I graduated from. Me a teacher? Heck yeah! I love teaching. In no time at all I became adjunct staff and taught at a graduate level 2 nights a week for years. And, I was still working full time as a Nurse Practitioner. But, I was missing something.

As a NP, I sought the opportunities that most people struggled with. I needed to challenge myself all the time. Maybe to prove to myself that I could do it. Maybe to keep myself from getting bored. I have no idea. But I definitely learned so much and met so many fabulous patients and medical providers and staff. I always say, I owe my current level of medical knowledge to all of the healthcare professionals I have worked along side in my career. Their willingness to educate me, guide me and push me in the direction I was going. My drive to do great things, I owe to my family. They never discouraged me and they still encourage me in my endeavor to a balanced life. So, how could I have been missing something?

I was driving to work and it dawned on me; I love the part of my nursing career when I get to educate someone else. I had the privilege of being a preceptor to new nurses, a college level educator, preceptor to graduate NP’s, and the education I was able to provide to my patients regarding their healthcare issues. Unfortunately, in our busy and sometimes crazy healthcare system, it is difficult to spend the amount of time necessary with every patient that needs educated about a symptom or disease process. That’s when I decided to become a Health and Wellness Coach!! I am also a Healthcare Advocate; and a Nurse Practitioner. I have found my balance in life.

Answer this question for me. What have you overcome in your life to allow you to move forward with your dream?

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