In this spotlight, we get to know Heather Quaile, DNP, WHNP-BC, SANE. Heather is on the Program Committee for our 22nd Annual Premier Women’s Healthcare Conference and currently in training to be a sexuality counselor.
How long have you been practicing? Where did you go to school?
18 years, Vanderbilt University
What kind of practice do you work in?
Midlife gynecology with a focus on sexual dysfunction and trauma along with telehealth. I also teach at Georgia State University in the FNP program and I am the course coordinator for the Women’s Health Course.
Do you have a particular specialty? If so, how did you get interested in that specialty?
Sexual dysfunction and trauma. I have worked in all aspects of women’s healthcare from non-profit to private practice. I have helped to start-up an NP run practice in a very NP restrictive state. I have worked in obstetrics, gynecology, adolescent gynecology, breast oncology, menopause, telehealth, and sexual dysfunction and trauma. I have always been passionate for the all things that advocate for women and the marginalized. I went through the process of becoming a sexual assault nurse examiner back in 1999. The area of nursing forensics and SANEs was only just recognized by the ANA in 1995, so a very new and growing field. It was difficult to find work in this area and I was planning to head off to start NP school in 2000. I put the SANE work on the back burner but it was something that always pulled at my heartstrings and I knew I wanted to work in this area at some point in my life. Working in private practice most of my career I saw many women through the years with sexual health problems and no one really discussing them with the patients or knowing how to help them. I found ISSWSH and attended my first conference in 2010. I was so excited about everything I learned and put it to use in my practice. Having moved to GA due to my husband’s career it was difficult to find work and that is what brought me to teaching at the university and also again focusing on working as SANE. My work with local rape center as well as my passion in women’s sexual health has always been at the forefront of my career. I hope to one day in the near future to be able to open my own women’s clinic focusing on sexual dysfunction and trauma.
Did you always want to be an NP? What made you want to become an NP? What has your career trajectory been?
I have always wanted to be in healthcare. IT became clear in nursing school that I wanted to specialize in women’s healthcare. I worked for a dermatologist for years in high school and through college and she had some of the first NPs working for her in California. I got to experience a lot of time and hands on work with them and I loved what they did and their autonomy. It was because of this experience that helped me to set my foundations in health care. As I stated above my career trajectory has been through non-profit to private practice to start up and entrepreneurship. I would love to have my own clinic at some point but I am also very passionate about healthcare and public policy. I do a lot of work legislatively and I would like to eventually run for public office one day. We need more nursing leaders in public office as well as more women.
What is one fun fact about you?
I was class president for two years of my undergraduate nursing program. Maybe this where I developed the inspiration desire to one day run for a public office.