ECS Care CBD Oil By ECS Therapeutics

Why we use ECS Care CBD Oil?

At the Couri Center, Dr. Couri proudly uses ECS Therapeutics CBD Oil because they meet the highest quality standards:

  • ECS Therapeutics uses organically grown, non-GMO whole hemp plants, gently extracted without harmful solvents.
  • ECS Care extracts are blended with organic hemp oil that is cold-pressed from hemp seeds for added synergy and nutritional benefits.
  • ECS Therapeutics products are rigorously tested to ensure they are potent, pure and safe.  In addition to the testing during manufacture in their GMP compliant facilities, every batch of their products is third-party assayed by an independent, ISO-certified laboratory.  As part of a full analysis, testing confirms that our products contain only trace amounts of THC that can stimulate and nourish the body’s endocannabinoid system, but without causing undesirable “euphoric” effects.
  • With ECS Care products, you’re getting not only hemp-derived CBD but also nature’s phytocannabinoid complex.  ECS Care full-spectrum hemp products stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system and interact with cell receptors to support balance in many important areas of health.

What is CBD Oil Used For?

x

x

x

x

 

Your provider can help you determine if CBD Oil is best for you and can guide you in determining the optimal dosage.  Schedule your visit today to learn more.

 

How to Apply Current Health Trends to Your Lifestyle By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

Just like fanny packs, brass fixtures, jelly sandals, and fitness trackers, the health and wellness industry tends to be just as trendy as fashion, architecture, and home decor. This year has proven no different with trending topics like macronutrient counting, avocadoes, the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting each becoming the main topics found in many forms of media, research journal publications, and marketing. None of these topics are wrong, however, are they right for you? The downfall of trending topics is as individuals, we never know how, when, and if the trend will actually provide the proper or intended improvements to our health, lifestyle or diet.
Trends may be popular, yet they are not always the right choice. People often forget the power food has on the human body. Just like medication, if a diet is not working, or the side effects make you feel worse when following, it is not the right diet for you.

Here are some tips when trying out new trends:

• Listen to your body. A healthy body does not feel bad. Do not ignore or try and justify symptoms. Symptoms are signs that something is wrong. A simple change in dietary intake can resolve many symptomatic problems.
• Implement small changes. Completely changing your intake or frequency of intake tends to decrease the chance you maintain compliance with the diet. Start with small, sensible changes.
• Who is recommending the change? Are they a trained medical professional with a nutritional background? Is someone trying to sell you something? Do they know about your medical history or current medications? Do you actually need to change? Ask questions. Do not assume.
• What are you changing? Are you giving up eating real food for “health products”? No amount of powder, bars or pills will replace the true power of a healthy diet.
• Investigate. Research. Look for reputable sources who have research to back up the health claims you are implementing.
• Realize you are an individual. No one diet should be recommended for everyone. We are not all the same. Every diet does not benefit everyone.
• Keep common sense attached. There is no one food, macronutrient, or supplement that is going to fix everything. Ask yourself if this dietary change is going to hurt you or help you in the long run. There are health benefits to most whole foods. Do not overuse or overeat anything. Too much of a good thing rarely is a good thing.
I regularly work with patients who are trying new products or diets. Some experience great success with weight loss, improved labs or the ability to eliminate medications, while others find themselves frustrated, fatigued, and fat (their words, not mine).

Finding the right dietary approach takes a few steps:

• An open mind. Most of the time, my recommendations for patients do not match their own thoughts. With an open mind, together, we can create the right plan for you.
• An integrative approach. Instead of focusing on a single-dimensional problem like losing weight or lowering blood sugar, let us help you look at your body as a whole. A full lab panel will not only help you understand your body; it will provide us with what we need to help you improve your health and outlook. Losing weight is not worth losing your health.
• Time and proper expectations. Losing 10 pounds each week is not realistic. Weight loss is generally estimated at one half to two pounds weekly, depending on the size, frame, and health of a patient.

With this integrative approach, I can help direct patients toward dietary choices and changes that will not only improve health, symptoms, and outlook but will also eliminate much of the confusion that comes with trying to understand dietary and lifestyle trends. If you are confused or are struggling with understanding your health, please call and schedule a free consultation to see how the Couri Center can help.

 

Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

SUMMER 2019 Sale $50 OFF TLC™ Integrative Wellness Programs

Take advantage of our summer sale: $50 OFF all TLC™ Integrative Wellness Programs!  Sale ends August 30, 2019.

What is Total Lifestyle By Couri, TLC™

Science-based, TLC™ incorporates in-depth labs, nutrition, and exercise. TLC™ is based on traditional and integrative medicine principles.

Tailored just for you, TLC™ incorporates food sensitivity, hormone, metabolic and expanded lab profiles. Whether you need a boost to lose weight & improve eating habits or a comprehensive wellness program, we can help guide you.

In 2012, Dr. Couri, MD graduated from a 2-year Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona under the direction of the all-inspiring Dr. Andrew Weil. Inspired to share the integrative principles gleaned from her Integrative Fellowship, with her patients, Total Lifestyle By Couri was born.  The TLC™ program combines the power of Integrative Medicine with the foundation of traditional Western Medicine for an unsurpassed experience that you will benefit from for years to come.

Is TLC™ a one-size-fits-all program?

No.  TLC™ is completely personalized!  Choose from a 60-minute integrative consultation, TLC™ Core, a 12-week program or TLC™ Plus, a robust 15-week program.  Each is customized just for you.  Schedule your complimentary consultation for details and to review pricing options.

How do I get pricing and learn more?

TLC Complimentary Consultation

Personalized Integrative Lifestyle Programs

Let’s face it.  The more you know about your health, the better equipped you are to achieve your wellness goals.  Dr. Michele Couri’s personalized, integrative wellness programs include:

  • detoxification
  • food sensitivity testing
  • hormone balancing
  • metabolic labs
  • nutrition
  • exercise

Curious how TLC can change YOU?  

Schedule your complimentary consultation below or call 692-6838.

Explore the Connection. Food Sensitivity Testing at the Couri Center

Food Sensitivity Testing

Research indicates that upwards of 70% of the US population has food intolerances.  These sensitivities can cause chronic inflammation and may be displayed in a variety of symptoms.  Food sensitivities can also contribute to weight gain and difficulty losing weight, despite positive dietary changes and exercise.

Food sensitivity reactions can cause inflammation, bloating, and slow digestion.

Common Signs of Food Sensitivity:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Acid Reflux/GERD
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Joint Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight Gain or Inability to Lose Weight
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Depression/Mood swings
  • Skin Disorders (Dermatitis or Eczema)
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Chronic Congestion

Schedule your consultation today: 309-692-6838

Explore the connection between what you eat & how you feel.  

By identifying which foods you are sensitive to you can alter your diet to avoid the foods that are causing symptoms. Testing is easy.  We perform an extensive range of tests from a single blood sample taken right here in the Couri Center lab.  This test can determine the degree, class, and extent of your food sensitivity.

Food Sensitivity Testing Includes:

Our panels are comprehensive and include either 96 or 184 of the most common offenders.  With each food panel test, you receive a private consultation and an educational session with our registered dietitian, trained in integrative health.  We don’t just hand you the results, we provide detailed feedback and answer all the questions you will have to guide you moving forward!

 30-Minute Consult with our Registered Dietitian includes:

  • Explanation of results
  • Personalized nutrition recommendations
  • Dietary alternatives/replacement education
  • Supplement recommendations
  • Guide to processed foods

Discover optimal health & reverse signs of inflammation and dysfunction in your body.

Schedule your consultation today: 309-692-6838

TLC Integrative Lifestyle Programs

Personalized Integrative Lifestyle Programs

Let’s face it.  The more you know about your health, the better equipped you are to achieve your wellness goals.  Dr. Michele Couri’s personalized, integrative wellness programs include:

  • detoxification
  • food sensitivity testing
  • hormone balancing
  • metabolic labs
  • nutrition
  • exercise

Curious how TLC can change YOU?  

Schedule your complimentary consultation below or call 692-6838.

Infrared Sauna Detoxification Sale

 

Sauna Detoxification May Sale

Sweating is good for you and is one of the body’s safest and most natural ways to heal and maintain good health.  Infrared saunas generate a sweat 7 x more detoxifying than a traditional sauna. Researchers have long told us how the body sweats out toxic substances, including heavy metals. As long as you maintain proper hydration, the more you safely sweat, the more toxins you’ll expel from your body.

Enjoy 2 for $50 sauna sessions during May 2019 (Regular price $35 each) Purchase in store today! Sauna sessions must be used by December 31, 2019.

Click below to schedule or learn more:

What is infrared sauna therapy?

Infrared light (experienced as heat) is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum with the ability to penetrate human tissue to produce a host of health benefits.  Because infrared sauna therapy heats the body directly rather than simply warming the air, it raises the core body temperature and produces a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where most toxins reside. Far infrared also aids in blood pressure reduction & weight loss, burning up to 600 calories in one 40 minute session.

What are the other health benefits of a full-spectrum infrared sauna?

Relaxation

Relaxation is more important to health than most people realize. The American Institute of Stress estimates that 75 to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems. Long-term stress is the cause of countless physiological effects on the body, including increased blood pressure, weight gain and weakening of the immune system.  Infrared saunas have been designed to encourage the purest form of relaxation and stress reduction.

Weight Loss

Maintaining a healthy weight is important to your overall quality of life. In a 2009 study, infrared saunas were shown to help lower weight and waist circumference in just a three month period. The common theme among subjects in the study was that far infrared sauna use was similar to moderate exercise but “much more relaxing”.  Therefore, infrared saunas can be an effective lifestyle adjuvant for those who cannot participate in traditional exercise programs due to medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

Heart Health/Lower Blood Pressure

In the U.S. alone, one in three adults suffers from heart disease, stroke or some other form of cardiovascular disease in their lifetime. High blood pressure increases your risk of getting heart disease, kidney disease or serious stroke.

Only infrared saunas have been clinically determined to provide one of the best, natural ways to lower blood pressure. In a 2005 clinical study by the University of Missouri Kansas City, Sunlighten’s Solocarbon heaters were shown to lower blood pressure through a program of 30 minute infrared sauna session 3 times per week. The study concluded that Sunlighten infrared sauna therapy dilated blood vessels and reduced the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation to promote healthy blood pressure.

Pain Relief

You too can toss the pain pills and step into a healing infrared sanctuary to relieve tension and relax muscles. Infrared sauna’s heat works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and speeding oxygen flow. By reducing soreness on nerve endings, our infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and helps the body heal itself naturally.

Anti-Aging/Skin Rejuvenation

Rejuvenate your skin while also receiving all of the other health benefits associated with Sunlighten’s leading infrared sauna therapy. A study published in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy showed significant improvements in skin appearance after just 12 weeks of sauna skin therapy using near-infrared technology.     Participants experienced a reduction in wrinkles and crow’s feet, as well as improved overall skin tone, including softness, smoothness, elasticity, clarity, and firmness.

Cell Health/Immunity

Infrared therapy stimulates the circulatory system, causing the heart to beat more vigorously and blood vessels to dilate, which help cleanse the circulatory system and more fully oxygenate the body’s cells.

Better blood circulation means more toxins flow from the cellular level to the skin’s surface to improve cell health, aid in muscle recovery and strengthen the immune system.

Sunlighten’s research-backed near infrared heating technology can strengthen the immune system. In fact, a NASA study showed this same near infrared therapy, delivered by LEDs deep into body tissue, can quadruple cell health and tissue growth.

Wound Healing

Skin plays a vital role in the protection of our bodies from the external environment. When broken, it is important repair it quickly to prevent infection or further problems. Studies conducted by NASA concluded that NIR LED light significantly promotes faster cell regeneration, wound healing and human tissue growth. Human cell growth increased by 155%-171% in some cases and wound size decreased by 36%.

Learn more about our relaxing infrared sauna’s built-in media center, including Pandora Radio, Netflix and multiple tracking features to calculate calories burned during your sessions!

 

The Girlfriend’s Guide to DETOX!

Do you feel winter has taken a toll on your mood, energy, and waistline? Do symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, bloating and weight gain plague your daily thoughts? Food choices and intake play a more significant role in how people feel than credit is given.

The food and nutrition industries are challenging to navigate, even for someone with extensive education. It seems research and recommendations are constantly changing. Foods and food products are marketed to everyone, no matter the age, social status or education level, even when we are unaware.  Deciphering proper food choices can be frustrating, and fad diets often don’t work.   Consequently, our bodies are taking on the burden of these wrong choices.

Detoxification is how the body eliminates “toxins,” or substances that should not be left in the body. The organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract (GI) oversee the elimination of these substances. However, please understand, times of stress, sickness, intolerance and indulgence, food choices, medications, and other substances we are around and ingest, increase the burden on the GI system. When the liver, gallbladder and other digestive organs struggle to keep up with this burden, toxins are stored in fat cells, the nervous system and brain (hence all of the symptoms).

Detoxification is a trending topic. Many people associate it with fasting, colonics, cleansing or an intestinal purge. On the contrary, a scientific and research-based detoxification system revolves around giving the human GI tract a break. While the Standard American Diet (SAD) often consists of foods that are highly processed, cause inflammatory reactions due to sensitivities and intolerances, are grown with pesticides and herbicides, contain chemically-derived food products or are empty of nutrients, a detox, is easy to follow and allows the body to fall back into balance.

Why should I detox?

If you struggle with any of the following, you will benefit from a detox:

  • Extreme sugar cravings
  • Gastrointestinal disruptions: IBS, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, bloating
  • Chronic sinus issues or thickness in the throat
  • Overall non-healthy feeling
  • Acne and patches of dermatitis
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Extended time of high stress
  • Struggle losing weight
  • Trouble sleeping or sleep disturbances

How will this affect my daily routine?

Detoxifying is easier than most people expect. With the help of a few supplements (included in your detox kit) that are used to support regularity, create a healthy gut ecology and promote detoxification from the proper organs, the majority of changes are made to the diet. With the exception of some foods, an ultra-clean, whole food diet is followed for six days. Hydration, gentle exercise and rest are encouraged throughout the week. When the body is given the proper nutrients, rest and movement, symptoms improve quickly. I often discuss with patients the power, good or bad food, has on our body. As it is the only thing we can control which goes into our body, simple changes to our food choices can have a massive impact on our symptoms and how we feel!  No matter if you struggle with constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas or you are completely regular, negative digestive side effects are NOT expected when using this detox.

The Couri Center, along with many of its employees, are hosting the Girlfriends Guide to Detoxing May 16-May 23. We will use Facebook to help guide you through the detoxification process. Daily detoxification information, recipes, and testimonials from your favorite Couri Center employees will be shared. We will be detoxifying with YOU!

Investing in your health

If you are ready to wipe away winter, feel good again and implement the healthy lifestyle you have been struggling to start, this is the time!

The Couri Center will host a detoxification event beginning May 16. The detox kit includes the use of plant-based shakes, and an ultra-clean, whole food-based diet. A detailed instructional guide that provides clear supplementation and dietary recommendations, as well as the science behind detoxification, is included in each detoxification kit.

How do I get started?

  1. Purchase the detox kit.  This detox process is easy and outside of food choices, it will not interrupt your daily activities. Bonus! Detox kits are discounted ten dollars during the month of May.  If you would like to join us on this detoxification journey, kits are available for purchase at the Couri Center anytime during office hours (8-4:30) for $120.
  2. Like & Follow us on Facebook.  We are completing this together, as a community. To help you prep for the detox, Facebook posts will begin on May 13 . Make sure you have “liked” and ‘followed’ the Couri Center on Facebook!

Since everything is more fun with friends, be sure to invite your girlfriends to join you!  Start the summer of 2019 feeling and looking your best.

Got Questions?

Individual questions regarding detoxification can be directed to Leslie when calling the office at 692-6838.

 

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

How to Lead your Teen Toward a Healthy Lifestyle By Leslie Rusch Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

What we discuss with your teen daughter at the Couri Center:

Survival. It is never easy. Retrospectively, survival always provides a life lesson. Whether titled middle school, puberty, teenagers or ‘kids these days,’ the age from 13 to 19 can be quite traumatic, confusing and all sorts of awful.

Me? I felt overweight and inadequate. At age thirty-five, I still wonder how I made it out of middle school with only a few ‘bumps and dings.’ I desperately wanted to be skinny and beautiful.  Even without social media, gossip, friends, grades, developmental changes, and body image issues haunted me every day.

I had an excellent support system. My parents were, and still are, the perfect parents for me. However, like many teens, I was close-minded and “knew” my parents had no idea how bad it felt. My parents saw me as a growing, young, beautiful girl. I saw and felt entirely different.

The Couri Center understands the need for support and guidance for young teens. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) is recommending girls visit the gynecologist for the first time between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. This first appointment at our office is multi-faceted. We discuss gynecological issues, as well as topics including how to reach or maintain a healthy weight, diet, exercise, guidance toward healthy relationships, emotional well-being, acne and smoking, and drug and alcohol prevention. Our goal is to create healthy relationships with teens that ensure a safe, non-judgmental environment where communication is encouraged.

The Couri Center will provide suggestions and guidance for your daughter; however, we strongly encourage parents, family members and guardians begin talking about health and showing children what a healthy lifestyle looks like through personal actions.

Here is a list of ideas to help your teen nurture a healthy lifestyle:

  • Do not openly complain about your weight or use terms like fat and ugly.
  • Set strict guidelines for screen time and social media use.
  • Set an example of a healthy exercise routine. Let your children see you active. Mow the grass, go for a walk or take an exercise class.Take them hiking, kayaking or biking.  Encourage your children to play outside and run. Children and teen activity recommendations include greater than sixty minutes daily of movement and activity.
  • Prep healthy snacks together.Teaching teens to wash and cut vegetables in not only a great life-skill, but it also provides the perfect time for relaxed conversation while establishing healthy eating habits early on.
  • Cook together. Encourage young children to help bake or cook dinner by measuring or stirring. Give older children the responsibility of preparing dinner once a week.
  • Talk to your daughter about what a healthy relationship is and looks like. Talk about sex, birth control and/or abstinence.
  • Eat together. Turn off all screens and talk. Ask about their day. Laugh. Cry.
  • Set guidelines for extracurricular activities. Encourage children to be involved, but find a healthy balance between school, sports, events and rest.
  • Tell your children it is okay to mess up or fail. Discuss healthy coping strategies. Apologize when needed. Show maturity to children. Discuss learning from mistakes.
  • Model confidence in your own abilities by being a role model.  Encourage confidence and resilience by teaching them proper social skills, to make eye contact and how to act confidently.
  • Encourage and praise children when you see healthy habits forming and maturity developing.
  • Love children no matter what.

The world is hard to navigate. Social media makes it even harder. I encourage you to schedule your daughter’s first visit with one of our providers to help gently guide her toward understanding her body, how certain choices impact her body, healthy attitudes, and relationships.

I am happy to report middle school did mold and shaped me for the better. I eventually found my forever friends. Sports created an outlet for my competitive nature and changed my body. My experiences through my teenage years paved the way for my current lifestyle and career. I am great at what I do because of what I went through, and what I learned.

Let our team-approach to ‘all things female’ guide your daughter through her teenage years.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

Turning the Page…By Terry Polanin, APRN

The Telomere Effect—Aging, Longevity, “Canaries in the Coal Mine”

As I write this last newsletter article for the Couri Center, I am very proud to have been a part of a practice whose very foundation is about promoting healthy lifestyles for women.  It has been a privilege guiding our patients through our integrative lifestyle focus to embrace a future full of beauty in themselves and their surroundings and finding moments to appreciate joy and peace.

That said, I would like to share with you some recent scientific research about our telomeres. Being able to see a future bright and healthy, does require some effort on our part, preserving our telomeres. For the past 40 years in nursing, I have seen many changes in healthcare and the health of our American people.  I am grounded in the belief that staying healthy, emotionally and physically, can help to “turn back time” and most of my passion in this profession has been promoting healthy habits and lifestyles.

As you know, it is not an easy path for many of us as we navigate our way through the multitude of “diets” and exercise recommendations available today.  I was enlightened recently by a speaker at a national conference discussing The Telomere Effect, a theory on cellular aging impacted by lifestyle factors and stress.  Telomeres are the end caps of our DNA.  When telomeres critically shorten, the end of the DNA is exposed to damage, and the cell dies.  Telomerase is a cellular enzyme that rebuilds telomeres and has additional non-telomeric roles in cell survival.  Who doesn’t want their cells to survive or thrive for that matter?  Telomeres typically shorten as we age.  Many studies have shown that life stress, or perceived life stress (if you feel like the things happening to you are stressful) can shorten telomeres.  Shorter telomeres will increase cortisol (stress hormone) and over time increase inflammation in our bodies.  Adverse childhood events will shorten telomeres, even stress exposure intrauterine (babies in the uterus) can reduce the telomeres as we age.  Dr. Couri was one of the first physicians in the Peoria area to integrate the philosophy of adrenal health and stress management, into western medicine at the Couri Center practice in early 2010.

The good news is cell aging by telomere loss can be reversed with telomerase!  Several studies have shown that accelerated telomere loss can be reversed within 4 weeks by reactivating telomerase.  This raises the question—can molecular aging be reversed? That answer seems yet to be determined, but many studies are showing promising results.  In the book, The Telomere Effect (Eppel and Black, 2017), the research they have performed suggests favorable measures to improve the telomeric effect on our bodies.  Such as:

1) Regular exercise

2) Dietary “Restraint.” Eat a more plant-based diet, with less processed and sugar-laden foods.

(See research from Dr. Ornish Lifestyle Study published in Lancet, 2008)

3) Vitamin C, D3, E, folic acid in foods or vitamin supplements (See our Couri Center store for quality brands such as Xymogen or Metagenics, or Nordic Naturals)

4) Omega 3 fatty acids-Fish oil (We suggest Nordic Naturals for quality fish oil)

5) Social Support

6) Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga

7) Stress Management (Such as time for yourself, a walk/hike in the woods, weekend get-a-ways)

8) Statins (Yes, this was on the list and suggested for lowering cholesterol and its anti-inflammatory properties)

9) Estrogen (Yes!! Especially if started in early menopause.  Talk with your provider for further information)

10) Sleep

11) Anti-depressants (Yes, it was on the list, and of course, many of the measures mentioned above will also naturally boost your mood if actively done regularly in our lives)

Unfavorable measures on our telomeres were: obesity, insulin resistance (Pre-Diabetes), elevated homocysteine levels (a measure of inflammation), and cigarette smoking. Have your labs checked!

If you need assistance in improving your lifestyle habits and reducing the telomeric effect, please see your Couri Center health care provider and/or Leslie Bayer, our Registered Dietician, who will help navigate you.  It has been my pleasure to work with Leslie, over the years, as she has been a vital component of the integrative health care we provide at the Couri Center.

And now, please bear with me as I reflect back on the 44 years I have spent fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a nurse, and the 39 years as a Nurse Practitioner/Advance Practice Registered Nurse.  I am feeling melancholic, as my retirement in March 2019 draws near.  I honestly cannot put into words the joy I have received through the patients that I have met along the way who trusted and allowed me into their personal lives as a health care provider.  You have really taught me much more than I did you, I am sure.

My journey began in the late 70s when I was teaching Nursing at OSF at the time, and we were asked to continue our education.  The request was honored by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Nursing. This was a time when very few nurses had Bachelor’s Degrees, and the University of Illinois had just opened their graduate school at the Peoria School of Medicine.  I was accepted and asked to consider starting a new, expanded role for the nurse. Mind you, at this time in Peoria there were very few female physicians and certainly no nurses who would provide health care, other than at the hospital bedside, under the Doctor’s orders.   It was a “man’s world” in medicine, but a concept that intrigued me (the women’s movement was also gaining momentum) and the University of Illinois was preparing to lead the way in this new concept for medicine and nursing.  We decided to call ourselves Nurse Practitioners, but we were still practicing under our RN license and signing the physicians’ name to prescriptions.

The landscape was changing. With more complex technology, HMOs and evidence-based medicine, and more complicated patients were coming on the horizon, there were a few “broad-minded “physicians that welcomed the concept of “collaborative practice” with an RN willing to expand their role and basically see the healthier, wellness-type patients for routine physical exams and acute care in offices or clinics.

Preventive, patient education was my passion, so I delved into developing diabetic, weight control, hypertension, and chronic disease programs for our patients to complement the physicians’ medical care. (And offered to perform the women’s health exams which were welcomed). There were about six Nurse Practitioners in Peoria at that time striving to advance this new role, which was met with skepticism and some resistance from much of the medical community at the time.  However, by the mid-90s, it seemed that hospitals were starting to expand into primary care and buying physician practices which led to the need for more primary care providers since the growing population of seniors and chronic diseases were over-whelming physician practices.  A perfect opportunity for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants (PAs) (a few PAs had been in the area also at that time) to integrate into the primary care practices, especially pediatrics and family practice.

At that time, I was given the opportunity to become the Coordinator of the Mid Level Provider group (a term I felt confusing to the public and somewhat demeaning to the professions) at Methodist Medical Center, which by this time had about 20 NPs and one PA. This was an opportunity to develop standards of care, position descriptions, and develop collaborative practice incentives.  It was also a time to change our group name, which I fondly called the Advance Practice Providers, now shortened to APPs.

It was an exciting time.  I was given the opportunity to develop a collaborative practice at the Friendship House for Christian Services in an underserved area of Peoria.  Additionally, I was asked to help begin a family practice in a school-based clinic housed in the Valeska Hinton School (with a progressive Principal, Ken Hinton, who believed children and families needed to have health care to be fully able to learn/succeed).    As time progressed, our nurse practice act was amended, and by 2002 we officially became APNs (Advance Practice Nurses) with the ability to sign our own names to prescriptions, based on our credentials, while working collaboratively with a physician(s).

Now, as I look back, I am so amazed and thankful at the progress we have made from the “ghost” provider in the 80s to a respected colleague and an integral part of health care teams in the 21st century.  We’ve come a long way!

This is probably way more than you wanted or did read, but thank you for listening as I “stroll down memory lane” to I look back on the joys and challenges of this “calling” I’ve been privileged to be part of.  And thank you to my patients, over the past 39 years as an APRN (that title recently amended), who have shared your lives with me and taught me about life.  I will never forget you.

Lastly, thank you to Dr. Michele Couri and her husband Tim Couri, who had the vision to bring contemporary women’s health care into the 21st century in central Illinois, with a focus on women, and designed by women.  It has been an honor to work with you and with the marvelous providers and staff that I have spent the past eight years with as colleagues and friends.  As my strong, loving 93-year-old mother always says…God never closes one door that He doesn’t open another.”

As I transition into retirement, I plan to focus on our three amazing children and their spouses. There is so much to look forward to!  We are expecting our first grandchild in May, our daughter’s wedding in October, as well as, a full schedule of international travel with my wonderful husband of 40 years. We also have a new 8-year old rescue bulldog Mack, my elderly 32-year-old horse Copper and my dear 93-year-old mother keeps ME young with lots of shopping!  I hope this keeps my mind off retiring from the Couri Center and the bittersweet close of this door.  So, I will remember the saying as I walk out the door in March, “Don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened.”  I will probably do both.

 

God bless and to your health,

Terry Polanin, APRN