The Center for Holistic Medicine is pleased to welcome Patricia DeAngelis, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, a certified family nurse practitioner, to our practice where, starting in November, she will be treating everyone from children to adults.
With a Bachelor’s of nursing from Rush University and a Master’s of Science in nursing from Olivet Nazarene University, DeAngelis is well-versed in traditional therapies and licensed to do everything from ordering lab tests, to diagnosing illnesses and conditions and prescribing medications.
But in addition to her traditional nursing background, DeAngelis has also studied functional medicine — a method that looks for the root causes of illnesses, rather than just treating the symptoms.
As a functional medicine practitioner, DeAngelis encourages her patients to change their eating and lifestyle habits to address their health issues, rather than simply prescribing them a pill, so they can truly lead healthier lives.
We recently caught up with DeAngelis to ask her more about why she decided to become a nurse, how practicing yoga has influenced her, and why she’s excited to join the Center.
How did you first get interested in nursing?
DeAngelis: My mom was a nurse and she got her Master’s degree in nursing, so we were always talking about health and medicine. I had that at the dinner table all the time. Also, I just really wanted to help people.
In medical schools, most doctors aren’t taught about the importance of nutrition or exercise for a person’s health. How did you become interested in how people’s lifestyle choices affect their health?
DeAngelis: Originally, I worked in surgical intensive care. I would look at these liver transplant patients, and I would think, “How did you get this way?” I was also very impressed by these 90-year-old women who would have surgery and they would bounce back after a few days. And I started asking questions about their lives. And the ones that were healthy almost always would describe a healthy lifestyle.
After working as a nurse for several years, you left nursing to raise a family. How did raising four boys open your eyes to many people’s unhealthy habits?
DeAngelis: My kids were really into the arts – band, theater and show choir. I’d go to all of these events and the refreshments would be like a food desert. All the kids had access to eat would be fast food, pizza and soda. So, I’d bring all this healthy food on the road. I first started introducing healthy options to kids when my boys were younger and they played various sports. I remember having the basketball team over to my house and I put out all this healthy food… Many times several of the kids would have never tried different types of vegetables etc. before, but they would say, “This is really good!”
Can you explain more about what functional medicine means?
DeAngelis: The functional medicine model is grounded in traditional and integrative science. The functional medicine model of care targets the root cause of changes in a person’s health using a system-based approach that is based in biology. At the center of the model is mental, emotional and spiritual balance. We look at the individual’s lifetime story and use different biomarkers to appreciate how your body developed certain conditions. Many chronic diseases can be related to a clinical imbalance. I partner with a person to implement a plan to restore balance and improve health. My recommendations that target symptoms and disease resolution can involve traditional prescription combined with perhaps nutritional supplements, natural products, changes in food, lifestyle behaviors, and stress reduction.
You are also trained as a yoga instructor. How did studying yoga influence you as a health professional?
DeAngelis: Yoga means to “yoke” or bring together mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is more than a physical practice. It’s a way of living. Studying yoga has taught me to help others learn to achieve mind body balance as an essential key for health.
Why are you excited to join the Center for Holistic Medicine?
DeAngelis: Many of the practitioners here share the same philosophy I do that you have to take care of your mind as well as your body. You can’t separate the two. Also, I definitely want to practice where the goal is to use all different modalities to find health. It takes a village to get someone healthy. It takes looking at and treating the person as a whole being. So it was natural for me to come here.