Congratulations, it is an Honor to Feature
Kathy J. Green, MSN, FNP-BC
TPMG – Neurology at Williamsburg
Whenever she meets new patients, Kathy Green likens each one to an onion. Her job is to ask the questions that peel back their layers so she can understand them on a deeper level, which is when she can truly help them.
Green, a nurse practitioner with TPMG Neurology, prioritizes educating her patients on how they can protect their brain health, often by minimizing risk factors or making simple lifestyle changes that may ward off or lessen debilitating symptoms.
“Many patients tell me, ‘Wow, no one’s ever asked me that question before,’” Green says. “It’s so important to take that one-on-one time with them, so I can take them under my wing and show that I care and have confidence in them. I really love each one of them.”
Many of Green’s patients are recovering from strokes, coping with migraines, headaches, or exhibiting signs of cognitive decline. Increasingly, research has shown that controlling blood pressure, exercising, losing weight as needed and quitting smoking can be equally – if not more – effective than medication for proper brain function, she notes.
In addition to scheduling annual checkups with a primary care physician, Green urges patients to socialize, tackle new activities and play memory games on a daily basis, from learning a foreign language to taking group fitness classes to enjoying a fast-paced card game. She herself picked up kayaking this past year, often with her poodle-Pit Bull mix, Lexi, along for the ride.
“People can become complacent as they get older,” she notes. “They stay at home and don’t engage or challenge their brains. You need to consistently push barriers and use all of your senses to build and maintain neural pathways.”
For headache and migraine patients, quick fixes such as improving posture, hydrating well, sleeping with a flatter pillow, or switching to a different work desk can guard against neck or lower back issues that frequently contribute to chronic pain, she adds.
Green has wanted to be a nurse since early childhood. Yet she had temporary second thoughts when she worked part-time in an emergency room while an undergraduate at Longwood College in Farmville.
Witnessing the hectic pace and sometimes-gory jobs that nurses had to handle, Green pivoted to a chemistry major and spent five years as a chemist for a pharmaceutical company in Richmond. There, she helped develop methods for the Food and Drug Administration to analyze new medications.
“It was very interesting, but I truly missed taking care of people,” she recalls. “I went back to school to become a registered nurse and have been in love with my job ever since.”
Green earned her RN credentials at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, followed by a master’s degree in Nursing Education from George Mason University and a post-master’s certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner through St. Joseph’s College of Maine. Her first nurse practitioner positions were in family medicine and urgent care.
In 2018, Green switched to neurology after she and her husband, a leadership consultant with a law enforcement background, moved from Northern Virginia to Williamsburg, which is a favorite vacation spot. Looking for a more focused specialty, she also valued the patient-centered approach of the neurologist in her practice, Patricia Mayes, MD.
“We both worry about our patients, even after we’ve gone home,” Green says. “It’s important to motivate patients, celebrate small accomplishments such as losing five pounds, and even let them vent their frustrations when needed. All of that can be part of the healing process.”
Meanwhile, Green has passed along her passion for caregiving to her children: her son is a firefighter/medic; her daughter is a neuroscience major at Christopher Newport University and will attend Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg next year.
“This career is so rewarding,” Green says. “The brain is fascinating, and there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach to care.”
Just like no two onions are quite the same.
We are grateful for local Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants who serve our health care community!
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