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Creativity Fosters Resilience: An Empowered Approach to Collaborative Patient Care

See Amy’s profile as a WeGO Health Expert

How do you create roadmap for care when there is none?  Although many patients leave the operating room with wounds and scars, there is no singular solution or plan of care for every patient, and some scars, we can’t always see.  However, the one constant is patient empathy and an openness to collaborating in order to find innovative strategies for recovery.

How is resiliency connected to personal power, empowerment and positive change amidst life altering circumstances?  In a creative approach to physical health, the patient, having little control over their clinical lives – takes an active part in shaping their identity, leading to improved mental, physical and emotional health and developing resilience on an intellectual and experiential level.  Through hands-on activities and visualizations, the patient plays an empowered role in their recovery. Creative expression helps to reframe the patient narrative, to make meaning of catastrophic events, and to give the patient a sense of mastery in a realm of uncertainty.

Read “Turning Adversity Into Gratitude” for The Courage to Shine/Association for the Bladder Exstrophy Community

Based in part on Amy’s personal experience surviving ten years of medical interventions, 27 surgeries, a coma, sexual abuse gastrectomy and PTSD, Amy lends the patient perspective with an empowered approach to mental health, where creative expression fosters a sense of self that build a patient’s resilience and health.  In a collaborative effort, the patient’s internal resources are easily accessed, and hope can be cultivated as medicine to rejuvenate the self.


The fostering of trusting relationships are elemental building blocks of resiliency.   Participants will learn how their approach can secure the emotional wellbeing of both patients. Creativity, storytelling, and empathy have the power to enhance professional conduct.  A wellbeing regimen for healthcare professionals to practice in relation to those they take care of will be provided, along with self-soothing strategies and alternative ways for both caretakers and those being treated to view the “patient” as “person.

Through a decade of medical crises, Oestreicher learned to create her own plan of wound management care that would best suit her needs, with the help of several WOCN nurses.  Amy has had several colostomies, ileostomies, an esophagostomy, multiple fistulas, and three failed reversal attempts.  With her “unique” anatomy, Amy was forced to find creative solutions to managing open wounds, complex fistulas, and ostomies in order to lead a normal life.  Finding innovative wound care solutions has enabled her to thrive in spite of complex fistulas.

Amy will discuss the importance of creativity as a mindset in wound care, her own innovative solutions, how she used her role as an artist to manage a wound that has remained open for four years.  This workshop will stress the importance of empowered relationship dynamics between nurse and patient. Only through a collaborative partnership, empathy, respect and understanding, can a patient thrive in spite of their conditions.

Participants will:

  • Identify creative solutions to wound care
  • Relate their own experience to creating an empowered relationship with the patient
  • Recognize new ways to approach post-surgical care
  • Combine previous knowledge with a new understanding of the patient experience
  • Support each patient in their goals beyond their medical circumstances

Learn about Amy as the 2014 Recipient of he Great Comebacks Award, giving her the honor of speaking to hundreds of nurses in Nashville TN, Greensboro NC, and Meriden CT:

“Thank you for sharing your story from a patient’s perspective. I’m a medical student, and I’ve noticed in med school that many of the students don’t understand the empathetic side of medicine. They don’t realize that they are not treating a disease, they are treating a person, who is likely scared, desperate, and feeling helpless. They don’t realize that treating patients means treating the whole family, because everyone is suffering together, and everyone is worried and feeling scared and helpless. Your presentation alone shows that behind every “interesting” condition or disease, there’s a real person, with a real story.” – Mindy, medical student, New Zealand 

Further Reading

See Amy in “You Deserve a WOCN Nurse”

Learn about Gutless & Grateful as a performance, followed by a talkback and facilitated Q and A.

Contact Amy and book her to speak today.

Download a booking history, professional references and audience testimonials.

“Thank you for an inspiring talk at this weekend’s WOCN conference.  The part that you should be most excited about, is that the people who were in your audience for this talk (nurses!) can act on your shared insights. My biggest “take away” from your talk is to remember to just listen.  Sometimes I just want to make things better, but I’m often defining that by what I think will make things better.  I wanted you to know what your perspective meant to me. Thank you!” – Cathy, WOCN Nurse

Go back to main Programming Guide Table of Contents page.





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