I’m Nicole Griffis.
I’m here to help.
I grew up in the beautiful town of El Paso, TX and went on to study nursing at The University of Arizona, graduating in 1999. I worked as a registered nurse in pediatric intensive care on the West Coast before moving to New York City in 2003 where I worked at Columbia Presbyterian’s Children’s Hospital of New York in pediatric intensive care. I graduated from New York University in 2007 with two Master’s Degrees: one in Adult Health and the other in Holistic Health. My husband and I moved to Austin in 2008 and felt instantly at home.
As an NP I have worked in women’s health, sexual assault forensic nursing, primary care, and integrative medicine. I’m a proud member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and the American Herbalists Guild. I have specialized training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Food As Medicine, Clinical Guided Imagery, and Yoga Teacher Training. My health coaching education was completed with Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy and I have studied community herbalism at the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine.
I live with my husband, son, and our sweet dog on the East Side of Austin. I keep balance in my life through hiking, reading, drawing, cooking, laughing with friends, dancing for no reason, watching Netflix, attempting to garden, making herbal remedies in my kitchen, and finding time for quiet reflection every day.
And yet, there was a voice inside me saying that I had to believe I could get better, the other choices were too dire…
My Story of Healing
I have been a nurse for over twenty years. I have seen children and adults suffer, heal, overcome fatal conditions, unexpectedly deteriorate, and defy medical logic. I have sat with the dying and felt an overwhelming sense of peace and I have cared for the living during unthinkable trauma. My experiences have taught me that the human spirit is both vulnerable and resilient. I have learned to never count anyone out and to have faith in the seemingly impossible. However, when health problems forced me to apply these beliefs to my own life, I found it to be a brutal challenge. Nurses can be terrible patients sometimes.
I am a highly sensitive person and stress lives in my body, even though I maintain a very calm exterior. In my early thirties, after I became a nurse practitioner, my mother died of cancer and I gave birth to my son within the span of a year. Shortly afterward, I began to have gastrointestinal and anxiety problems. I learned to manage my symptoms with a clean, healthy diet and relaxation techniques. I soldiered on at work, believing that the pressure created by insurance, billing, revenue, time constraints, and an increasingly sick population was not affecting me. I tried to use my holistic principles with patients whenever possible, but found the conventional healthcare setting to be counterproductive to my intuitive skills as a nurse. My stress moved into my neck and shoulders where it lived in the form of constant tension. My body was talking to me and I only partially listened. I did yoga and got massages but continued to ignore my stress and my intuition that I was meant for a different kind of healing work.
In 2018, my neck began to scream at me to pay attention. Over the course of weeks, my shoulders were visibly higher than my natural posture and my neck was so tight I could hardly turn my head. My head would go numb at work and I began to get debilitating headaches on a daily basis. I had to leave my job because I could no longer keep up the pace of ten to fifteen-minute visits with a schedule full of patients. This devastated me. I started to believe I was permanently disabled after a neurologist diagnosed me with a chronic neuromuscular condition that causes constant spasming of the muscles in my neck and shoulders. Being a clinician myself, I dove into the internet to research my condition and could not find evidence of anyone recovering. Instead, there was a plethora of stories of people suffering for years, living in pain, retreating from their lives. The thought of becoming one of these people sent me into a deep depression.