Meet Patient Advocate & Transitions Coach Karen Sanders 

Open door to natural view with black wall.“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there are only walls.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Educational Background 

Degrees

I hold a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I am also a Registered Nurse in North Carolina (expiration date December 31, 2017).

Current and Previous Certifications

  • American Heart Association Basic Life Support Provider, January 2017
  • Advanced Holistic Nurse, Board Certified, 2014 to 2019
  • Health and Wellness Nurse Coach, Board Certified, 2013 to 2018
  • Certified Holistic Stress Management Instructor with Paramount Wellness Institute, May 2012 to the present
  • Healing Touch Level 1 and 2 in Asheville, North Carolina, 2008 and 2009
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RN Patient Advocate Karen Sanders

Awards and Recognitions

In the past I have been honored with the following distinguished awards:

  • YWCA Tribute to Women in Industry Award (TWIN) Honoree – 1998
  • American Heart Association, BCLS Instructor Trainer, Memorial Mission Hospital, Asheville, North Carolina – 1988 to 1998
  • Leadership Asheville Graduate, Asheville, North Carolina – 1995
  • Great 100 Award for Nursing Excellence in  North Carolina – August 1995
  • Certified in Nursing Administration, Advanced, American Nurses Association – 1991 to 1996
  • Inducted Sigma Theta Tau, Alpha Alpha Chapter, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina – 1982

I also have professional memberships in the following organizations:

  • National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants – June 2015 to present
  • American Holistic Nursing Association – 2006 to present
  • Fellow with the Kaiser Institute Intuition in Healthcare – 2006
  • Western North Carolina Medical Managers Association – 2005 to 2007
  • North Carolina Nurses Association – 1989 to 1996 (previous past President NCNA District #1: 1990 to 1992; Board Member NCNA District #1 – 1992 to 1994; Program Co-Chair NCNA District #1 – 1994 to 1995)
  • North Carolina Organization of Nurse Executives District #1 – 1989 to 1991

Nursing Experience

In 1975, I began my nursing career as a Staff Nurse on a 40 bed Medical floor, with a 4 bed Stepdown Unit, at the Medical College of Virgina Hospital in Richmond, VA.  In 1977, I was promoted as an Assistant Head Nurse in an 8 bed Medical Intensive care Unit also at the Medical College of Virgina. In 1980, I worked as a part-time Staff Nurse in the Critical Care Flex Pool at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC, while attending grad school. In 1982, I started my management career as Head Nurse of an 8 bed Medical Intensive Care Unit at the VA Medical Center, in Durham, NC., and then transferred to the Medical Intensive Care Unit as a Staff Nurse at Duke University Hospital in 1983. In 1984, I moved to Charlottesville to become the Head Nurse of a 16 bed Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Virginia Hospital.   From 1985 to 1986, I served as the Administrative Coordinator of the Neurology Special Care Unit and General Neurology Unit also at the University of Virginia Hospital.

In 1986 I moved to the Asheville region and I began my almost 30 year track record of serving the Western North Carolina community in a wide variety of capacities. I held all of the following positions between 1986 and 2014:

    • Director, Nursing Education and Outreach at Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina – 1986 to 1990 (started Nurse Internship program at Mission Hospital in 1986; started Nurse Preceptor Program in 1987)
    • Director of Critical Care Nursing at Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina – 1988 to 1990
    • Director of Medical/Surgical Nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina – 1990 to 1992
    • Medical/Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina – 1992
    • HBOC Clinipac Instructor in the Department of Nursing Education at Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina –  1993 to 1994
    • Case Management Program Director at Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina – 1994 to 1998.
    • Director of Clinical Informatics and the Integrated Clinical Information System at Mission St. Joseph’s in Asheville, North Carolina – 1998 to 2002
    • Clinical Team Director at Thoms Medical Rehab Unit at Mission Hospital, Thoms Rehabilitation Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina – December 2002 to 2003
    • Practice Administrator at Asheville Radiology Associates’ Carolina Vascular, Asheville, NC – 2004-2007
    • Director of Acute Care Services and Healing Arts at Transylvania Regional Hospital, Brevard, North Carolina – 2008 to 2014

Coaching Experience

In 2006 I began to work more frequently in the world of education and coaching. This was a way to take all of my nursing experience and help work to make the healthcare system more compassionate, effective, and successful for healthcare professions and patients. I served as:

  • Instructor for the North Carolina Board of Nursing as an Instructor for the Ethical /Legal Decision-Making Course – 2006 to present
  • Faculty Assistant at the Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy – September 2013 to present
  • Adjunct Nursing Faculty at South College, Asheville, NC – January 2015 to present

Speaking and Publications 

Karen holding a painting of the “Phoenix Nurses”

Karen holding a painting of the “Phoenix Nurses”

I have also been published and invited to speak at a number of events over the years to share insights and expertise about a variety of topics including: 

  • “Letting Go of Stress: Strategies for Self Care.” Mountain Area Health Education Center Winter Virtual Nursing Grand Rounds, Asheville, NC:   Module 3 – March 1- 29, 2016 

  • “Professional Issues in Nursing” and “Adult Health” Courses  – Lectured in the Department of Nursing, South College, Asheville, NC, April 5, 2015 to present, Multiple presentations included, but not limited to, Nursing Leadership and Management, Effective Delegation, Supervision, Staffing and Nursing Care Delivery Models , Paying for Health Care in America, Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing, the Nursing Shortage, and several other lectures.

  • “Phoenix Nurses: A Path to Renewal.” Beginnings, 33 (5) – October, 2013, 10-12
  •  “Using the Enneagram Personality System to assess conflict styles in the Intensive Care Unit,” Functioned as Nurse Planner to submit Contact Hour Approval documents to the North Carolina Nurses Association to bring in nationally recognized  speaker on the Enneagram Personality System, Sandra Smith, M.Div. – September 22, 2014 and October 6, 2014
  • “Essential Oils Competency Blitz for RNs and Certified Nursing Assistants” Transylvania Regional Hospital Annual Skills Lab – September, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
  • “Mastering the Art of Getting Hired” Nursing Department, South College, August 10, 2013
  • “TRH Healing Arts Program” Presented at Food Matters Market, Brevard, NC – February, 2013.
  • “Letting Go of Stress: Strategies for Self Care in the Hospital Setting” Transylvania Regional Hospital, Brevard, NC – March 16, 2013
  • “An Overview of Holistic Nursing and Evidence Based Complementary Therapies in the Healthcare Setting” Nursing Department, South College, June , 2013
  • “Self-Care Strategies for Nursing Staff While at Work” Emergency Department Skills Lab Transylvania Regional Department – October 10, 2012
  • “Teaching Essential Skills and Knowledge: Prioritizing, Organizing and Making Clinical Judgments” Transylvania Regional Hospital Brevard, NC – July 31, 2012
  • “Lessons Learned in Teaching the Legal-Ethical Decision-Making Course.” North Carolina Board of Nursing, Raleigh, NC, March 5, 2012.
  • “Protocol for the Application of Essential Oils” Transylvania Regional Hospital Brevard, NC – February, 2012
  • “Implementing Code Lavender at Transylvania Regional Hospital” Leadership Meeting, Transylvania Regional Hospital Brevard, NC – September 11, 2012
  • “Self-Care Strategies for Care Givers” KOALA Adult Day Care Brevard, NC – July, 2012
  • “Stress Management for Self Care at Work” Nursing Staff, Transylvania Regional Hospital, Brevard, NC – April, 2011
  • “Dessert with the Docs: Transylvania Regional Hospital’s Healing Arts Program” Transylvania Regional Hospital – April, 2011
  • “A Nurse Driven Protocol for the Application of Essential Oils” Chief Nursing Officers Regional Meeting, Transylvania Regional Hospital – May, 2011
  • “The Art of Precepting” Presented to Clinical Nurse Preceptors Transylvania Regional Hospital – May, 2011
  • “TRH Holistic Nursing Practice and Healing Arts Program: Competency Based” Transylvania Regional Hospital Brevard, NC – February 1-3, 2011
  • “Outpatient Nursing Department Presentation on the utilization of Essential Oils” Transylvania Regional Hospital Brevard, NC – July 13, 2010
  • “Transylvania Regional Hospital Falls Prevention Program for Med/Surg ICU, and SDU” Quality Committee of the Transylvania Regional Hospital Board – May, 2010
  • “Transylvania Regional Hospital’s Healing Arts Program” Poppies Market, Brevard, NC – March 2010
  • “Implementation of Essential Oils, Healing Touch and Reiki in Med/Surg and ICU” 3 hour workshops for all nursing staff in Med/Surg, ICU, SDU Transylvania Regional Hospital Brevard, NC – August 5 and 6, 2009
  • “Using Wisdom Circles to Create, Connect, and Facilitate Healing in Two Healthcare Communities” Presented at the American Holistic Nursing Association’s Annual Conference in Lake Tahoe – June 8, 2008
  • “Inspirational Places Where Holistic Nurses Practice.” Beginnings, 28 (2 ) – Spring, 2008, 22-24
  • “Implementing the Integrated Clinical Information System at MSJ using the Cerner Electronic Health Record” Multiple presentations to Department Leadership, Senior Leadership and Medical Staff Meetings, Mission Health System  – 2000 to 2002.
  • “Developing a Self-Managed Work Team” Presented to Asheville Cardiology Associates Nursing Staff – March 10, 1998
  • “Getting Started in Case Management” Presented at the “Case Management: Moving Into the Future Symposium,” Spartanburg, South Carolina – October 3, 1997
  • “Mergers and Partnerships: Experiences, Coping Strategies and Survival Techniques of Two North Carolina Hospitals” Valdese Hospital – September 25, 1997
  • “Mergers and Partnerships: Experiences, Coping Strategies and Survival Techniques of Two North Carolina Hospitals” Valdese Hospital – December 13, 1996
  • “FOCUS/PDCA Facilitator/Training” Multiple Training sessions delivered for JCAHO visit, Finance, Housekeeping and Case Management Departments, Mission St. Josephs – 1996
  • “Utilization of Financial Data to Gain Support for Your Case Management Program” Presented at The Three R’s of Nursing: Restructured, Revitalized, Ready; 1996 Annual North Carolina Nurses Association convention Raleigh, North Carolina – October, 1996
  • “Continuum of Care from Acute Care Facilities to the Community” Presented at The Three R’s of Nursing: Restructured, Revitalized, Ready; 1996 Annual North Carolina Nurses Association Convention Raleigh, North Carolina – October, 1996
  • “Patient Picture Paths” Poster Presentation, 5th Annual Mountain Nursing Symposium: A Continuum of Caring, YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly Black Mountain, NC – October, 1996
  • “Trends in Case Management” Presented at the Nursing workforce Changes: Strategies for Nursing Education and Practice Meeting, MAHEC Asheville – September 29, 1996
  • “Implementation of a Community-Wide Path Project to Facilitate the Continuum of Care from Acute Care Agencies to Home Health, SNFs. ICFs, Rehabilitation, and Durable Medical Equipment Agencies” Presented at the Outcomes Management: Charting the Course for Best Practice, Third Annual Symposium – April 25-26 Houston, Texas, 1996
  • “Utilization of Patient Picture Paths as Effective Patient Education Tools” Presented at the Outcomes Management: Charting the Course for Best Practice, Third Annual Symposium, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital Houston, Texas – April 25, 1996
  • “Managed Care: How Will It Affect Me?” Memorial Mission Medical Center Asheville, NC – October, 1995 to January, 1996
  • “Managed Care” Regional Home Health Directors Meeting, MAHEC – December 13, 1995
  • “Basics of Clinical Paths and Case Management” VA Medical Center Personnel from CV OR, Memorial Mission Medical Center Asheville, North Carolina – November 1995
  • “Implementing a Case Management Program in an Acute Care Setting” HBO IMPAC Meeting Hilton Head, South Carolina – May, 1995
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical Paths” Sloop Memorial Hospital Crossnore, North Carolina, October 25, 1994
  • “Variance Analysis Tracking” Presented at the Case Management: The Future of Care Coordination Conference, sponsored by the Southeastern Case Management Network Charlotte, North Carolina, October 23, 1995
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical paths in a Community Hospital” McDowell Hospital Marion, North Carolina – October 18, 1995
  • “Case Management and Critical Paths: An Overview” Oncology Nursing Society for Panel Discussion on Health Care Reform, MAHEC – Tuesday, October 11, 1994
  • “An Overview of Case Management and Critical Paths” NCNA District #1 Membership Meeting, MAHEC – June 6, 1995
  • “Case Management and Critical Paths: An Overview” Presented at the HBO IMPACT User Conference, Hilton Head, South Carolina – May 7-10, 1995
  • “Utilizing Costs and Charges to Gain Administrative, Physician, and Staff Support of Your Case Management Program” presented at the Southeastern Case Management Network Meeting, MAHEC Asheville, North Carolina – April 7, 1995
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical Paths at a Community Hospital” Rutherford Hospital Rutherfordton, North Carolina – January 13, 1995
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical Paths” Asheville Cardiology Associates, presented to Nursing Staff Asheville, North Carolina – January, 1995
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical Paths,” Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Highlands, North Carolina – January 1995
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical Paths at a Community Hospital” McDowell Hospital Marion, North Carolina – October 18, 1994
  • “How to Implement Case Management and Critical Paths” Murphy Medical Center, Murphy, North Carolina – October 4, 1994
  • “The Effects of Healthcare Reform on Cancer Cases” Presented at the Issues and Challenges: Oncology Nurse Practice Seminar, MAHEC Asheville, North Carolina – September 1994
  • “Developing Critical Paths: An Overview” District Memorial Hospital, Andrews, North Carolina – July 1994
  • “Case Management and Critical Paths in the Acute Care Setting” Presented at the WNC Medical/Dental Seminar Vail, Colorado – February 1994