We sat down with Erin Leber, CRNP at Novara, to take a closer look at important topics in women’s health and wellness. She shared some of the questions she wishes her female patients would ask and talked about the impact that listening has on providing exceptional care.

Q: How would you describe your approach to women’s healthcare?

A: I take a very individualized approach to healthcare and recognize that every woman has a story she brings with her to each and every visit. Women tend to ignore the majority of their health issues and put others’ needs first, from children to aging parents to their spouse. Annual exams are an opportunity to explore what my patients may be neglecting in their physical and mental health. These visits should be a safe space for patients and a place where they can be authentic.

Q: What are some of the questions you wish your patients asked?

A:Sometimes my patients know what’s caused a particular health issue, but other times, they’re not quite sure why they’re experiencing certain symptoms. It’s important for us to have a conversation and for my patients to ask what I think may be wrong or making them sick. This helps me determine the best course of action that will lead to an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Beyond this, it’s also important for patients to ask what steps they can take to prevent or treat certain health conditions. I encourage my patients to ask how they can improve their health naturally, whether that means making a few key lifestyle changes or taking a closer look at the foods they are or aren’t eating. We’ve all heard that these changes can make a difference, but it’s easy to forget that factors like diet, exercise, and stress can have a huge impact on our overall health.

Q: Why is listening to your patients and taking the time for meaningful conversations so important?

A: The best way to build trust is to take the time to listen and learn about my patients. In my mind, quality healthcare the kind of care we’re able to provide at Novara involves thorough explanations about health conditions, medications, and treatment. Without giving patients time to ask questions and provide feedback, they leave feeling confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I’ve seen firsthand that allowing patients to tell their story doesn’t just create a better relationship between patient and provider; it also leads to better health outcomes.