After Lauren was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, she decided to become an RN. Now, she’s working toward becoming a Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner in Gastroenterology to help people who suffer from this disease, too.
Name: Lauren F.
Profession: Registered Nurse in the Operating Room (OR) and studying to attain Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) in Gastroenterology (GI).
Where are you from? Carlsbad, California.
Why did you become a nurse?
At the age of 18, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. For about a year, it greatly debilitated my life. I was constantly in and out of hospitals, where I had many interactions with great and not so great nurses and physicians. This is what caused me to want to work in the medical field. While lying in hospital beds, I thought to myself, “I want to be that nurse or physician who walks into the room and the patient instantly has the feeling of comfort, because they know I am going to provide high quality patient care.”
What is your favorite part about your job?
I love being a nurse, and I’m proud to be part of this wonderful profession of healers. Nursing has taught me a lot about having respect and empathy for others. My favorite, and most rewarding, part of being an OR nurse is having the honor and privilege of taking care of patients during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.
Why did you choose to specialize in GI?
I desire to become a DNP in the field of Gastroenterology so I can have one-on-one contact with GI patients, facilitating supreme, individualized healthcare. Having stomach issues of my own, I can easily relate to patients and their symptoms.
How was your life affected once you were diagnosed with Crohn’s?
Many aspects of my life changed. To avoid flare-ups, I have to follow a strict healthy diet, get adequate exercise and do my best to keep stress to a minimum. For me, sticking to a day-to-day routine helps a ton.
How has your experience with Crohn’s affected your experience as a nurse?
I strongly believe that God played a great role in guiding me to the light of helping others with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. My experience with Crohn’s tremendously affected my experience as a nurse. I have performed extensive research holistically on how to help myself with this disease and its serious and painful symptoms. I feel God has given me this calling to “pay it forward” and touch others’ lives in a positive way, supporting them through their own illness with extremely empathetic and excellent health care.
What is something about Crohn’s Disease that you wish everyone knew?
Just because someone with Crohn’s Disease looks “fine” on the outside, they are still dealing with pain from a chronic illness.
Name someone who inspires you and why?
My past nursing instructor, Sue Simpson, inspired me to be a more empathetic, compassionate and selfless nurse. Her drive in nursing education, excellence, leadership and management motivated me to continue growing in nursing and encouraged me to provide high quality patient care.
If you could speak to your younger self, what would you tell her?
It would be to not be ashamed of having Crohn’s Disease. For the longest time I was embarrassed of having a disease that dealt with going to the bathroom (not the most glamorous topic). I would often spend time with friends and acquaintances while in severe pain. I would stay quiet, refraining from saying anything, because I did not want people to know I have the disease. Crohn’s Disease does not define who I am and I cannot control it, therefore, it is not something I need to hide.