A Dedicated Practice of Connecting  – LewisGale Hospital Montgomery

A Dedicated Practice of Connecting – LewisGale Hospital Montgomery

(upbeat music) – I am Laurie Buchwald, I am a women’s health nurse practitioner, and also a family nurse practitioner. I work for Virginia Women’s Health, which is a OBGYN practice associated with LewisGale Montgomery
here in Blacksburg. I grew up as a navy brat, that’s a proud name that we call all children of military families. So I moved around a lot growing up. We lived in California,
in France, in England, in various parts of Virginia. Growing up navy was a
wonderful experience. I think initially, it
was just an idea I hit on when I was a little girl
and I think at that point, women tended to be nurses,
or secretaries, or teachers. I wanted to be a firefighter, I wanted to work for
fisheries and wildlife. I didn’t come back to healthcare until I was in my mid-twenties after exploring some other things. I attended a school in Vermont and it was a Fisheries Wildlife program. We would get up every morning at 5:00 a.m. And work in the wood lot
and feed all the animals, and if you had to study agriculture, you were out in the field applying it, if you were in the wood lot, you were cutting down the trees. It was that that helped me to get my job with the forest service fighting fires, so it was an incredible experience. I think I’m a very lucky person in life that I have many interests. I’ve always said that if you
can’t do your very first love how fortunate it is to be
able to have another one that falls right along with it. So when I realized that
working for the forest service working wildlife, was
probably not gonna be able to keep me full-time
employed back in the 80’s, I knew that I still loved healthcare. I love teaching, I love
helping people feel good, and be the best they can be, optimize their wellness. And then I realized you could apply your love for healthcare,
for taking care of people, and still have your outside joys. I was a Girl Scout, so I
achieved the highest level of Girl Scout equivalent to
Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. So did a lot of camping, in fact, when I had my child I had him back-packing on the Appalachian Trail
at six months of age. I was a single mom,
raising my child by myself, working full-time, going to school, so I didn’t do a whole
lot of nature stuff then. So you do what you can with
the time that you have. I tell my patients all the time when they talk about trying to raise their children by
themselves and go to school, and I think that helps too, you know, for four years I lived on no sleep while I worked full-time night-shift in the GYN ER and
attended graduate school, raising my kid, but you
know, you can do it. You have a vision, you have a dream, you just gotta push yourself and do it. And I think he’s really proud of me for, for doing that. I have lived in various parts of Virginia working in various parts of OBGYN. I’ve worked labor and delivery, I’ve worked private practice, I’ve worked inner-city healthcare. My jobs in the hospital before I became a Nurse Practitioner, were labor and delivery, emergency room, what we called emergency room back then, so it was all the high-adrenaline stuff, you know, I wanted to stay
in that excitement mode. The busier we were, the crazier we were, the happier I was. I do many things that aren’t so calm, I ride a motorcycle, I’m
also very civically engaged. I don’t have hardly a free moment. I volunteer a lot in the community. I’ve ran and been elected
to political office, I run fundraisers. I fell in love with riding motorcycles when I fell in love with this guy. And when that relationship ended, I was not done with the bike, and I almost immediately took the motorcycle safety class and had my own license. Have a great group of
friends that I ride with and I ride solo as well. Every year I take a solo trip by myself and ride for 1500 miles
exploring a new locality, a new area, pretty fun. It is such a wonderful thing to go out on the road by yourself. I love to travel with friends, I am very, very social, I have a million friends, and I’m grateful for them. But there’s something different
about going out by yourself. It forces you to step
outside your comfort zone. You walk into a restaurant,
you sit down by yourself. I always talk to the
servers and the bartenders. I find out their names,
they find out mine. You’re able to make the decision about where you wanna go, what time you’re gonna leave. If this morning you’re gonna sleep in, tomorrow you’re gonna get up early. Today, I’m not gonna stop for lunch, tomorrow, I am. It is just an amazing
thing to be on your own and to make those decisions, and then also to problem solve. So I’m out in the middle
of nowhere in Tennessee and I start having an
electrical problem on my bike, you know, how am I gonna
solve that problem? You just push down fear and go. It’s kind of how I am with my job as well. And that is an interesting
correlation, actually. I think we all need to know
where our strengths are and where we need help, and to me I think that’s
one of the strengths of a nurse practitioner working
with a physician colleague. I know where my scope of
practice ends and theirs begins. I know where my strengths are
and I need to ask for help. And what’s wonderful with
many of the physicians I’ve worked with through the years, they do the same. They come to me and say,
this is your strength. I am an amateur photographer and blogger. So I started a blog about five years ago to be able to share my photography and my motorcycle travels with friends, and through that I’ve met
friends from all over the world. I got to go to New York City and meet up with a bunch
of photographers last year. I’m going to New Zealand to
meet up with other bloggers. So, the amateur photographer, and I am an amateur, I’m,
you know, no doubt about it, has allowed me to meet so many people and I just love the creativity
that comes along with it. It is looking at things creatively with healthcare when
somebody’s got a problem. If I ask a bunch of questions
and I am just not hearing it we have to start expanding that scope, what else could this be? So it does require that. I like to tell my
patients I’m a detective. I don’t know everything by any stretch and I don’t have all the answers, but I am a detective and
I will figure it out, even if it’s sending to
somebody else who can figure it out for me. Living in the New River Valley, you are living in a area of, just, incredible natural beauty and resources for canoeing, for hiking, for bicycling, for any outdoor activity that you want. But you’re also only three
and a half hours away from Knoxville and Richmond and Ashville, so you can go get that
city fix, which I like. I think the New River Valley offers that opportunity to have
the best of both worlds. And I’m also gonna tell you, as one who’s very civically engaged, it’s an area you can get involved in. You can pick a group, an organization, get involved, and make a
huge positive difference in your community. I had a woman that came in yesterday and she was having terrible bleeding. She’d been bleeding for much
longer than she should have. And she was, of course, thinking that something dreadful was going on. So I was able to reassure her
that she was gonna be fine and we were going to fix this, but still took her concerns seriously. And that’s a big part of it, that’s so reassuring to women, to know that they’re gonna be okay. One of the things that’s concerning that’s always challenging is the woman who’s been seen by a lot
of different providers and she’s had a condition for five years, and she comes in and I’m,
like, we’re gonna fix this, and we do. And that’s a thrill, those are, those are things that are not
the same as putting out a fire or riding a motorcycle, but
they’re just as thrilling, ’cause you’re making
such a huge difference in somebody’s quality of life. And I talk a lot about that, this is not life-threatening, this is quality-of-life-threatening.

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