Holistic Nurse Practitioner Empowers Women
Aug 25, 2016 05:34PM
● By Carrie Jackson
Dr. Leta Vaughan
In her 30 years of practice, Dr. Leta Vaughan has treated women with a wide variety of conditions and ailments. It’s her focus on wellness, not illness, however, that makes the connection with her patients so special. Vaughan holds a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP), is a board-certified midwife, serves on the faculty of the University of Illinois and is a licensed advanced practice nurse. She currently sees patients at WomanCare in both the Schaumburg and Palatine offices, specializing in women’s health and gynecological issues.
WomanCare is an alliance of healthcare professionals around the northwest suburbs. With experts in issues like bladder control, bone density, breast health, gynecology, emotional health, prenatal and postnatal care, medi-spa and weight loss, they are fully equipped to address a woman’s unique heath concerns. They also offer workshops and seminars to facilitate wellness in the community. “Our focus is to help women feel the best that they can at every stage in their lives. We guide patients on how to age well using a holistic approach,” says Vaughan.
As a DNP, Vaughan spends more time face-to-face with her patients than a doctor might, and forming relationships is one of her favorite aspects of the practice. “I love being able to connect and relate to women. Patients come in and want someone to listen to them and to take their concerns seriously. Sometimes, just giving them that time and attention can help them feel better,” she says. Although Vaughan looks at all aspects of patients’ health, her areas of focus are bioidentical hormones, holistic lifestyle, fertility, diabetes management, metabolic syndrome, menopausal issues, supplements and nutrition.
Vaughan believes that treating patients holistically and comprehensively is the most effective and therapeutic approach. At WomanCare, she works in conjunction with fertility experts, acupuncturists, massage therapists, social workers and others to help address all of a patient’s needs. “Treating ourselves to the best in life does not mean the most expensive or the rarest. The best means the best for ourselves, and that is something we as women tend to avoid. We are great at taking care of others, but fail many times at taking care of ourselves,” she says.
As women age, their bodies have different needs, and it can be difficult for them to address those changes. Vaughan helps her patients through fertility, weight management, menopause and other transitions. “Through the use of supplements, a healthy diet based around whole foods, a regular exercise program and other positive lifestyle choices, women can make real changes in their health. But they need to be ready and they need to be supported,” she says. Someone might come in wanting to lose weight, but before she talks to a nutritionist, she may need to talk to a counselor to work through other barriers that are hindering her progress. Vaughan helps to put all those pieces in place.
With self-help and medical websites so prevalent, Vaughan says many patients come in with preconceived ideas of what might be wrong with them. While it’s important to be aware of how they’re feeling, often websites often provide conflicting, inaccurate or misleading information. “There’s so much confusion out there. I try to provide evidence-based research to guide my patients on the right path,” she says.
Vaughan is especially sensitive to how milestone health transitions like going through menopause affect her patients’ overall well-being. “There are so many layers when a woman experiences menopause. In addition to the physical changes, she might be an empty-nester for the first time in years or relating to her spouse differently. There are hormonal changes and things can feel out of control. She may be slowing down and not able to do all the things she used to do. There are lots of products, including supplements, which provide some physical relief. It’s my job to listen to what she needs and offer support and guidance. Sometimes just having someone to talk to makes the transition seem more manageable,” says Vaughan.
Treating her patients holistically allows Vaughan to obtain an accurate overview of their needs, as well as their concerns. Taking the time to develop relationships helps them feel empowered and valued. “I love being able to guide women on a natural path to health and well-being and ultimately, helping them feel happy and fulfilled,” she says.
WomanCare is located at 814 E. Woodfield Rd., in Schaumburg and 355 N. Northwest Hwy., in Palatine. For more information, call 847-221-4800 or visit WomanCarePC.com. See ad on page 23.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine. Connect with her at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.