Although Shelby Brooks, MSN, APRN, CPNP-PC, is a relatively new member to our practice, she has been no less integral to our PRC staff and patient families in her short time. Nor is she a novice around clinics and the field of rheumatology. She herself was diagnosed with JIA at the tender age of two, and she has made it her life’s goal to advocate for kiddos with similar illnesses, and help them to heal, gain confidence, and be successful ever since.
Shelby shares more about herself here in her own words:
1. What is your role at PRC? How long have you been with the practice? What do you love about the practice?
I am a pediatric nurse practitioner at PRC. I have been with the practice for a little over 7 weeks now. I love many things about this practice, namely the kind and knowledgeable staff, the family feeling in the clinic, and the fantastic patients that walk through our door every single day. It is fun getting to be a part of this care team!
2. What inspired you to go into nursing?
I was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) when I was two years old and immediately knew the value of a dedicated care team. My little sister was also diagnosed with JIA when she was four, and from there, we spent our Fridays every few months going to visit our pediatric rheumatology care team in Dallas at the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. As I grew older, I became passionate about giving back to kids the same way my care team, specifically my nurse practitioner Dr. Heather Benham, gave back to me. It is extremely special to care for kids with similar diagnoses as myself and my sister, and I loved the way the nursing model molded with the medical model.
Nurse practitioners focus on treating the entire patient, mentally and physically, and I felt heard and cared for after each visit. One of my favorite things about being a nurse practitioner, especially at PRC, is being able to relate to patients when they tell me challenges they face as I often can relate and provide empathy. These patients, along with all of my other patients with rheumatic conditions, inspire me every day to show up and be the best nurse practitioner I can be.
3. Why do you like working with kids? What tricks do you have up your sleeve for making their time less scary/more comfortable when coming to the doctor?
I like working with kids because they are not only inspiring, but they are resilient and exemplify grit. Pediatric patients with chronic illness are the toughest kids on the planet.
My first tip for making their time less scary/more comfortable begins with asking about their life at each appointment and asking for updates each time they come in. I want them to know and feel that they are a part of the PRC family.
Other tricks include my “dog light” which is a small plastic dog that lights up and helps me with my eye exams. Sometimes having a distracting toy can make the process of going to the doctor easier.
I also do my best to fully explain every procedure, diagnosis, and treatment plan so that both children and their families feel less anxious when in our clinic. Every patient and family should have the tools to tackle their condition each day.
4. Tell us something interesting about yourself.
My favorite interesting fact about myself is that I grew up with a horse named Maverick. My father, a custom home builder in the Austin area, built our home so that Maverick could stick his head through my window in the mornings like a Disney princess movie. Maverick remains to be one of my best friends and is living his best life out on our family ranch in Cameron, TX, where he now grazes with our other horse, Rain.
I love my family, and while I love my little brother and father, there’s nothing like girl power, and I consider my mom and sister to be two of my best friends. My sister, Avery, is a freshman pole vaulter at The University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jay Hawk)! We love to be goofy! They recently came with me to Nashville to watch my graduation at Vanderbilt University with my Masters of Science in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner.
My favorite things in life include beautiful coffee shops with the best cold brew, long sunset walks after work, and yoga to help my joint pain and keep me flexible and strong. I also love to read, especially fiction novels, and play video games like Minecraft. Many of my patients have similar hobbies to me, which makes it fun to talk and laugh about in the clinic!
Thank you, Shelby, for all that you do and the shining light that you bring to your young patients. Maverick, and we at PRC, are extremely grateful to have you on our side!