NAME: Sue Walkley ADDRESS: 3740 Lake Powhatan, Williamsburg, VA 23188
1) What inspired you to become a healer?
This is almost a little hard for me to answer as I have never used the word healer to describe myself while I love the ideas of healers and feel I have met some. There are many experiences that inspired me on this path, including some lovely practitioners as a teenager, studying health and psychology in college, first job (my "dream job" at the time) as a "counselor" with schizophrenics in a small residential facility, becoming a massage therapist at age 22, going back to graduate school to study medical anthropology but instead of something more exotic wrote a dissertation on treating low back pain in Manhattan, teaching anatomy, anthropology and massage for many years and then turning around to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner instead of going into academics. I am inspired by the many patients who have touched me and trusted me over the years.
2) Describe your dream clinic/practice/workspace/job:
In some ways, I already have my dream office space. It is an office in a fun, creative coworking building. I have ocean pictures on all four walls, a massage table with a soft white blanket, two comfy chairs and a wooden cabinet. Outside the window is a garden bed where you can see black eyed susans and echinacea going nuts right now. Most people comment on how peaceful it is.
I have had this office since last September and have only done massage in it. A month ago Virginia became the 26th state to allow nurse practitioners to practice without a supervising physician so I am contemplating opening my dream private practice either this fall or next year. While I had local physicians that might have signed off on me before, I couldn't face the idea of them being called in a lawsuit for a patient they never saw, I am a little too integrative for most and also I would have had to pay their professional liability so I never considered going forward before.
My idea for a dream practice keeps evolving. I have worked over 7 years as a NP, mainly in urgent care and orthopedics. I have been studying herbal medicine for 4 years and functional medicine for the last 2. I have a (hidden) webpage on my site where I have been exploring how offering different services might look to the public. I find this exercise very helpful. I am currently landing on offering some simple urgent care services, intergrative and herbal consultations for chronic issues, musculoskeletal appointments and continuing to do massage. I am beyond frustrated by our current health insurance system and am passionate about offering transparent pricing and helping the many working and middle class patients I've met who rarely sought healthcare due to no insurance, high deductibles and anger over past outrageous bills after the fact. My last day at a very toxic urgent care (corporate takeover from a previously nice urgent care) was last Thursday (first day of this course!) and I am currently starting a 6 week sabbatical, just doing massage. I was almost paralyzed there by the end there when I became aware self pay pts had been charged $290 for a wet prep and $493 for a CBC, Vitamin D and cholesterol panel. In September I will start part time at a local clinic for uninsured/low income patients that seems lovely, as well as teaching Medicine and Culture as an adjunct and lining up some PRN urgent care jobs. This would be the perfect time to launch my small scale little clinic...
I have concerns about offering such an unusual hybrid practice in my not very progressive area, imagining some physician backlash (I am acutely aware of some negative opionions on independent NPs and know this forum is mostly physicians and am very clear about my scope of practice and level of education) and also because I also would ideally get like to get back to my old medical group (before the urgent care corporate takeover) part time for at least 832 hours in one calendar year within the next 5 years to get a pension. I'm almost worried they won't take me back if they see me doing something on own. But then I think a lot of specialists/surgeons I know wouldn't care at all!
I've always patched together part time jobs as an adult and in some ways just doing that now feels good and back to my roots. I'll stop here on this question.
4) What book are you most excited about and why?
I started Your Money or Your Life as an audiobook and it has already really inspired me to look at money differently. Wow. I have to say I have been on a trip to North Carolina since last week so have the books waiting at home for me, so am not up to speed on the other ones yet. They all look great! Also, I apologize in advance if I have any technical computer difficulties tonight as the internet is not great here. But I will try!
5) What are you hoping to take away from this course? Inspiration to open myself again to the broadest ideas of healing after a soul crushing work experience. Courage for moving forward with an eclectic practice. Rediscovering magic in medicine. And understanding at least how to reasonably explain dosages of CBD oils for patients to try on their own!