Lynne Odell-Holzer is not your average nurse practitioner.
She is a holistic nurse practitioner, with degrees in mental health and as a family nurse practitioner. What makes her really unique is the fact that she makes house calls, a practice her patients say is a blessing to their health and recovery.
“Having the two different degrees has made it possible for me to start my own practice,” Odell-Holzer said. “And I have a practice called Comprehensive Holistic Health and House Calls because I do the house calls as well as office visits.”
Comprehensive Holistic Health and House Calls has been operating for more than a decade, averaging about five patient appointments per day. Odell-Holzer’s client base largely comes from referrals of satisfied patients to friends and family.
“People tell me time and again that they don’t feel like they are on an assembly line,” Odell-Holzer said of her nontraditional methods.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average doctor to patient ratio is 1 to 250. Odell-Holzer said she prefers to have a more personal relationship with her patients.
Odell-Holzer is among 88,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, according to the California Association for Nurse Practitioners.A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice, registered nurse licensed to provide healthcare independently from a doctor. They are held to the same legal and ethical standards of care as physicians. Odell-Holzer practices a holistic approach.
“The definition of holistic health means the person’s mind and body,” Odell-Holzer said. “I will use some non-western techniques but I’m also a very firm believer in the western techniques.”
Odell-Holzer’s job keeps her on the move – visiting patients while carrying a bag packed with homecare equipment and a stethoscope hung around her neck. One learns more about the healthcare worker by taking a peek into the corners of her life: she grows a variety of fresh herbs in her backyard and hundreds of texts line her bookshelf, ranging in topic from religion to antique remedies.
Odell-Holzer’s practice, while “typical” by western standards, also uses techniques not usually found in the emergency room such as hypnotherapy, light therapy, body massage therapy and herbalism.
According to the American Board of Holistic Medicine and American Holistic Medical Association, holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses the whole person: body, mind and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health and to prevent and treat disease.
Odell-Holzer’s patients say her techniques, from the medicine she practices to where she sees her patients, makes all the difference.
“Lynne is a blessing, an answer to our prayers,” patient Nanette Hall said. “I think her holistic view and her approach in that way has been very helpful, taking into account our family’s health and looking into things that doctors normally won’t.”
Odell-Holzer is passionate about a holistic approach to her care.
“My concept from everything that I’ve seen in medicine is that medicine moves the person from where they are to where medicine wants them to be,” Odell-Holzer said. “I want their blood pressure under control. I want their stroke to improve, but what does the patient want?”
Odell-Holzer said she can better treat patients in their own homes.
“A patient can say that he or she is eating right when they come into the office,” Odell-Holzer said. “It’s not until you get into the home that you see the bags of potato chips.”
Her dedication to her patients is obvious. Whether she’s tending to her backyard garden or out to dinner with her husband, Odell-Holzer is never without her emergency cell phone, which patients can call 24/7.
“I make the greatest difference by the personal investment,” Odell-Holzer said. “I give them the sense that what they say makes a difference, I may not agree with it, but I let them know I respect them anyway.”
Odell-Holzer prides herself on being honest, open and accessible to her patients for what they need her for most – to improve and maintain their health.
“At first when she became our primary I was kind of leery and didn’t trust too many people because of the medications they put me on,” said Jake Hall, another one of Odell-Holzer’s patients. “They were totally bad medications that my doctor had put me on, and Lynne noticed it right off the bat and changed me to a proper medicine, which was very, very helpful. There have been times when I was really sick and my wife has called and she came right over.”
Odell-Holzer said she has had cases when the doctor prescribed the wrong medicine or dosage.
“I really like it, and I feel personally proud of myself when I find something that other people have missed,” Odell-Holzer said of discovering a medication mistake.
Odell-Holzer’s patients have a variety of disorders, from schizophrenia to age-related health issues.
“It amazes me what the people that have walked through my office or give me the privilege of walking through their home have been up against and how they heal,” Odell-Holzer said.
Through the highs of resolving a patient’s medical issue to the lows of being threatened by a mentally ill patient, Odell-Holzer has seen it all – yet she still finds fulfillment in her career.
“My only regret is that I didn’t do this earlier,” she said. “It’s a hoot and I can see myself doing this the rest of my life.”