Hi, Catherine! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in the Champlain Valley of Vermont. After graduating from the University of Vermont with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I decided to branch out and move to Montana. I’ve worked in several settings including pre-hospital medicine, acute care, surgical oncology, and as a summer camp nurse. I trained as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and have a board certification in Medical/Surgical nursing. Now, I am the nurse here at Bridgercare. I enjoy any role in which I have the opportunity to help someone navigate a challenging time in their life.
Why did you choose to enter the medical profession?
Nursing always appealed to me as just the right mix of science, advocacy and humanitarianism. I am so glad I made the decision to pursue it!
What are some common misconceptions you hear from patients?
I feel as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding what STI testing entails. The same goes for contraceptive methods. I would love to provide greater clarity and help bust those myths. Patients deserve the facts and tools to make an informed decision for themselves. I would also love to remove the fear surrounding STI testing and help dissolve the associated social stigma that can act as a barrier to patients accessing this essential care.
Tell me about a situation with a patient where you felt you really made a difference for them.
I was caring for a terminally ill patient who had to spend their birthday in the hospital. Overnight, another nurse and I filled their room with bouquets of fresh picked flowers. The smiles in that room the next morning brought awareness and love to the present moment, despite the gravity of the situation.
What are some helpful hints or practices you do in your own life to improve your physical and mental health?
I like to garden, forage and hike. Also, I love spending time around dogs. I don’t personally own a dog, but I will gladly play with any dog I meet. They’re good role models for how we should approach life.
What is the most important thing Bridgercare does for patients and the community?
Bridgercare is a sanctuary. We create a safe, respectful, non-judgmental environment for patients to discuss and process complex and intimate issues. I feel lucky to work in a place like that.
How do you want a patient to feel after a visit with you?
I want my patients to feel comfortable, informed and empowered by the care they receive. I give my patients as much time as they need to disclose whatever information they want to. Healing happens slowly in an unrushed and nurturing environment.
Who do you admire and why?
Definitely my mom. She was a single teenage mother, she beat cancer twice and dealt with a whole lot of trials in between. I feel if I can face the challenges in my life with even a fraction of the grace that she did, I will be very glad.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or your favorite quote to live by?
I’m not sure I have a favorite quote but I think self-affirmation and self-love are extremely important. I believe practicing self-care is the best gift you can give yourself.
What is your favorite part about working at Bridgercare?
I love the close relationships among staff, patients and our community. The education component of my job brings me a lot of satisfaction. Whenever I can support a patient in feeling more comfortable making informed-decisions about their body, that’s the best part of my day!
What do you do in your free time when you aren’t working at Bridgercare?
I enjoy listening to live music, playing in my garden, hiking, and asking strangers if I can pet their dog. Especially if it’s a puppy!