The first thing you notice about Lisa Kimrey is that she spends a lot of time listening. When she does speak, there’s a soft lilt in her voice, and she’s usually asking a question about you. By this time, it’s second nature to her. She’s been asking questions for more than 25 years. She is the woman behind mylifenurse.com
Based in Springfield, Missouri, I first connected with Kimrey after reading a post she wrote remembering her experience as a nurse called to bring supplies to a hospice patient. When Lisa arrived, the patient had passed away. She worried that she didn’t have the experience, or the right answers. She offered the only comfort she knew: two strong arms, a shoulder, and a desire to listen.
In reality, she had everything she needed. She had compassion, empathy and a desire to comfort. My mother had been in hospice several years ago, and I had always marveled at the kind of person who could serve that way.
These days, Kimrey uses those same skills in a different capacity, offering online nutritional help at mylifenurse.com. No supplement plans and no crazy ideas. Think small, actionable steps. Think of someone that can help you pull together all the information from your family doctor and your specialist and help you make the best choices in terms of what to do next. Think of someone who knows her way around health insurance.
A registered nurse for more than 25 years, Kimrey has seen healthcare change tremendously. Working in home health care, medical management and patient advocacy, the best part of her job was always working with individual people.
Individual attention and connection through an online service?
Absolutely, says Kimrey. Here’s why. Today’s brief office visits have opened a need. According to Kimrey, patients learn they have issues that need to be addressed, and they’re given the proper medications, but then they’re on their own. These days, they need someone to slow down a bit, to take time to explain.
“In the beginning, I used to drive to peoples’ homes and visit with them,” explains Kimrey. But she wondered if there was another way. New technology allowed Kimrey to visit in patient homes via Skype. “I always try to do video to see their expressions, to get to know them. I get so much more out of video than just a phone call.”
Kimrey is quick to emphasize that she’s there to complement, not replace traditional healthcare. “I look for two things,” she explains, “There’s usually a place I know that I can help, through encouragement or knowledge.”
A mother and a wife, as well as a nurse, Kimrey’s journey has taken her down a different path. “This whole thing is a calling for me.”
Originally started to fund the publishing of a book for bible study, the technical challenges and the people she’s met along the way have encouraged her to reach out and use those nursing skills in a different way. She’s still committed to her original mission, but she’s discovered there may be more to the plan.
Realizing that most people get overwhelmed by advice and product packaging, Kimrey focuses on simple advice to get her clients on the right track. “It’s hard. Most people can’t tell the difference between good advice and marketing. There are built-in habits. I listen to the stories and see where I can go. I want to provide three quick wins and then move on to the next steps.
In our conversation, Kimrey cited her beliefs as the source of her strength.
She doesn’t hesitate to follow a story and see where it might lead. For us, it led to a talk about food allergies and children, and how to best approach life in general. And we also talked about hospice care, menopause and how we age. And it was a comfortable conversation. Like I was catching up with an old friend, not necessarily explaining to a nurse.
“I’m looking for a win-win. A connection. One of the things I love about being a nurse is that everyone has a story, a real story.”
And Kimrey listens. And connects. Even half a country away. She’s proof that real interaction online is possible. “You get to know the essence of the person; you can connect on a deeper level and see how you can help them.” Gracious and earnest, Kimrey is genuine. My offhand comments had her contacting me the following day, offering a little extra advice, a little extra care. She’s just that kind of person.
Like many of us, she’s inspired by the words of another.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
If you think you’d like to connect and interact with people, but feel like it’s impossible due to logistics, take a closer look. At the start, reaching out isn’t easy for anyone. Start small. Leave real feedback on an Instagram that speaks to you. Comment on a post. You might even have the beginnings of a real conversation, with someone thousands of miles away.
It really is a small world, isn’t it?