photo of Christy Swope, RN

Who are you and where do you practice?
My name is Christy Swope, and I am the Director of Clinical Research at the practice of Dr. Robert W. Herring, Jr. in Nashville, Tennessee.

What made you decide to become a nurse?
I have always been nurturing. My final decision was made when my grandmother went on dialysis.

What do you find most rewarding about being a nurse?
The impact of your care directly influencing a patient’s life. I work with liver disease, so if you are able to participate in life-saving treatments it greatly affects the patient as well as their family. A majority of my patients stay in contact years after completing treatments.

What is the one thing you wish more people knew/understood about being a nurse?
This is not just a job. You establish a relationship with the patient, even if it’s just for a day. You are giving of yourself to make your patient as comfortable as possible while you are with him or her.

How has the role of the nurse changed (if it has) in your career?
Nursing was more "hands on" in the past. Now so much time is spent on paperwork and data entry. I feel the nurse has more responsibility and less time for patient care.

What or who inspired you to focus your practice on patients with liver disease?
The doctor I work for, Robert Herring, introduced me to the field. I have been working in hepatology for the last 20 years.

What are some of the challenges facing nurses today? How do you think these issues can be addressed?
As I age, I am faced with having to physically work into retirement age. Nursing is a physically demanding job and rising health care costs can make retirement difficult. As a whole, the industry should find ways to help the aging nurse with patient loads or modified shifts after age of 60, if applicable. I have watched my aging coworkers really struggle – mentally and physically – to reach the retirement age of 65.

When you’re not caring for patients, what do you like to do?
I love music. I like to go to concerts and festivals. I love water – the pool, the lake or the beach; they give me great pleasure. I have a Frenchton puppy which keeps me very entertained. I am married with three children and four grandchildren, so spending time around the pool with family is always fun.