Carie Evans is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner whose HERO story is about the time that she diagnosed one of her patients with endometrial cancer and subsequently diagnosed her with lynch syndrome, which puts her at risk for other cancers. And her sister was also tested and had prophylactic surgery and then another sister was tested and had prophylactic surgery. When her patient came back recently for a routine checkup she gave Carie a big hug and said, “you not only saved my life, you saved my whole family’s life with your diagnosis.” In Carie’s words, “So yeah, it definitely makes it worth it to come to work every day.”
“The patient that I mentioned during the NPWH interview was a postmenopausal woman that I met for the first time because she came in complaining of having cycles after menopause had already occurred. I knew that this was serious, so we immediately did a biopsy (endometrial) in the office. It came back positive for uterine cancer and I spent a lot of face-to-face time discussing this with the patient along with her best options for further care and treatment. She was referred to gyn/oncology and subsequently tested positive for Lynch Syndrome, which increases risk for other types of cancers. Because of her diagnosis, her sisters were also tested and one of them did test positive for this syndrome. The [patient] was very grateful and tells me every year how I saved her life and the life of her family by being aggressive with her complaint. I was simply following the standards of care, but it does feel very rewarding to hear that I’ve touched a patient’s life this way. It’s also nice to know that I’ve affected women that I’ve never even met.
I got into nursing because I have always enjoyed helping people. I have 3 sisters and have always been fascinated with how smart and interesting women are. I always wanted to work with pregnant women and help with the birthing process. I was lucky enough to start my nursing career in labor and delivery. I worked in the community setting for the first few years of my career, and then transferred to a big, university, teaching hospital. I learned so much every day as I was able to witness and participate in the latest clinical trials and the newest recommended treatments. I also found myself playing a very important role in the resident physicians’ learning process. This is what motivated me to want to do more than bedside nursing. I wanted to have my own patients and have a bigger part in their education and outcome of care. This is why I started nurse practitioner training.
I often have a nurse practitioner student with me in my practice. I love having the opportunity to guide and mentor nurses who are still deciding which path they would like to take. The most important thing I like to convey is that being a nurse is a noble profession and will always be very much needed. There are so many roles that nurses can choose to follow, which is why it is such a unique profession. Nurses are taught to care for the whole patient, not just the problem at hand. I often get the question, “why not just become a doctor?”. The answer is simple, “I’m very happy being a nurse!”